Press Release

Node4 Research reveals AI concerns in UK mid-market

Tue 2 Jul 2024

Provider of cloud, data centre, and communications solutions, Node4, has published new research revealing significant concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs and cybersecurity among UK mid-market companies.

The findings indicated fears of AI replacing existing jobs top the list of worries for IT decision-makers within these organisations.

According to Node4’s Mid-Market IT Priorities Report 2024, 37% of CTOs, 29% of Heads of IT, 27% of IT Directors, 26% of CIOs, and 29% of IT Managers express apprehension over potential job losses due to AI.

This concern is prevalent across various sectors, including mid-market finance (36%), private healthcare (27%), insurance (27%), retail (29%), and transport (25%).

The report also highlights significant worries regarding AI’s impact on IT security:

A total of 30% of respondents identify AI as a top cybersecurity threat over the next 12 months, 28% believe AI could expose their organisation to new cybersecurity risks, and 25% think AI could accidentally reveal sensitive corporate information.

These findings suggest that dealing with AI-related threats is the top cybersecurity priority for the remainder of 2024. A lack of security is identified as the primary barrier to AI adoption.

Product and Strategy Director at Node4, Geoff Barlow,  said ‘IT decision-makers identified potential job losses and cybersecurity risks as their two top AI adoption concerns’.

“At this stage, it is sensible to take stock and understand not only these key issues, but how AI could also enhance your organisation. Our research suggests respondents are doing precisely that and with great maturity and informed opinion,” added Barlow.

Companies Seek External Assistance 

Node4’s research indicates that most mid-market organisations plan to seek third-party assistance to address security concerns and other key AI adoption barriers, such as poor data availability and data quality.

To mitigate a lack of security, respondents reported they would rely on a mix of cloud providers (50%), retained consultants (40%), and managed service providers (MSPs) (34%). Similarly, for dealing with a lack of data availability, 50% would turn to cloud providers, 42% to MSPs, and 36% to retained consultants. For data quality issues, 57% would opt for cloud providers, 35% for MSPs, and 32% for retained consultants.

Barlow said respondents appear concerned that their organisations cannot keep pace with the necessary retraining to mitigate against job losses or evolve for an AI-driven economy. They are also worried about the rapid rate at which new cybersecurity threats are emerging.

“IT leaders should take a proactive stance by educating themselves and their organisation, evaluating the scope, scale, and speed of their own AI adoption, putting the right processes in place to facilitate upskilling and engaging the necessary third-party support,” said Barlow.

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