News & Views

Origin Communications CIO Report

 

For the third year running, information security and technology PR specialist, Origin Communications (www.orgincomms.com), has commissioned independent research into how 200 UK-based IT security decision makers are consuming all types of content, whether through podcasts, social media, IoT devices, online news sites or print materials during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research also delves into how the challenges of 2020 have impacted their media consumption behaviour, how much time they have to consume content, whether virtual events are ticking the right boxes for them, and which methods of content delivery they see dominating news delivery in the future.

According to the survey, more than half (59%) say they are reading more online with over a third (39%) reading more as a whole.  Just over 10% noted that their consumption habits had remained unchanged, although 31% admit to listening to more podcasts – a trend that is likely to continue post COVID-19 as IT security decision-makers cite podcasts as a source they will use to access/view content in five years’ time, with numbers doubling across most content options including thought leadership (17%), product reviews and announcements (16%) and technical support (12%).  For general news discussion on IT security, the figure (15%) almost tripled compared with one year ago.

As digitalization continues to thrive, the media channels with which these IT security decision makers look to consume are changing is too.  The survey proposed numerous media channels and questioned respondents on which type of content they viewed across each.  

Social media also proved to be the only media source to see an increase in numbers choosing to read/view more frequently when it comes to IT security, up from 17% to 19%.  There is no doubt that social media can be a powerful communication tool and should form a strong part of any PR strategy to generate a flow of information sharing amongst peers across these platforms.

However, the use of IoT devices saw a predicted increase across all content categories in 2020 from thought leadership (24%), and product reviews and announcements (21%), through to general news (20%) and technical support (19%), highlighting the potential for IoT as a major source of future media consumption.

“Given the stay at home policy which thrust a huge proportion of the population into a remote working scenario, it is unsurprising that we would see an increase in the number of people reaching for their devices, but it’s great to see the increased use in IoT devices and ‘new media’ like podcasts mature,” says Paula Averley, Founder and Director, Origin Comms.  “Cybersecurity organizations have a significant opportunity to embrace these trends, to discuss pertinent issues, push new products and services, and develop new channels of engagement.”  

New to the 2020 research, Origin Comms also asked what drives respondents’ decisions to attend virtual events.  With the physical event calendar still looking sparse for 2021, this leaves a lot of space for virtual events to continue to fill the gap.  The importance of speakers was flagged as the most significant variable, with more than a 10% difference in numbers citing speakers as being extremely important to virtual events (50%) compared with physical events (39%).  

This year’s survey also took into account the rise in disinformation with almost a fifth of IT security decision-makers noting that articles they have read seem too reliant on COVID-19 to sell a product/story.  When asked if they felt the pandemic had impacted the IT security industry in terms of offering disinformation, 15% say they have seen an increase in disinformation across all types of media, with 14% of respondents saying it was easy to spot.  Being factual with content is key to reaching your audience and gaining their trust.  Fortunately, IT and IT security-specific publications remain the most trusted source for IT security.

“The IT security and tech titles continue to hold their value as a crucial source of media, so companies must consider their content carefully as part of any PR strategy.  Being cautious not to spread misinformation/disinformation is critical to maintaining trust with your audience. Cybersecurity companies should ensure they stick to the facts and target their audience carefully”, continues Averley.

“Media consumption trends are continually changing and the pandemic has highlighted just how quickly these changes can take effect.  Cybersecurity companies need to remain open to this and allow themselves to be directed by their PR specialist into how to gauge these changes and stay flexible to how, and where, they direct their content in order to reach their target audience”.

The full report ‘Public Relations: Targeting Information Security Decision-makers in the COVID-Era’ is available at https://origincomms.com/research-report