IT professionals and businesses are struggling to extract strategic value from their Big Data, according to global research.

The Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR) surveyed 1,800 IT professionals across 18 countries to examine the IT readiness, challenges, technology gaps and strategic value of implementing Big Data projects.

While most companies are collecting, storing and analysing data, the report reveals that many are struggling with both the business and IT challenges of Big Data.

For example, while 60 percent of respondents agreed that Big Data will help improve decision making and increase their competitiveness, only 28 percent report they are currently generating strategic value from their data.

More than a third (38 percent) said that although they have a Big Data solution, they need a strategic plan to take advantage of Big Data. IT pros said there were several obstacles to fully adopting Big Data solutions, with security, budgets and staffing problems topping the list.

More than one in four respondents globally (27 percent) said data security and risk management is a major concern. They cited the sheer volume of data, the number of ways to access data, and lack of budget for security as the top reasons why securing Big Data projects is such a challenge.

Almost a quarter said they didn't have enough staff with the right skills to manage their Big Data projects.

Over half the respondents expected Big Data strategies to increase their IT budgets in 2013. The vast majority (81 percent) said all or some Big Data projects will require cloud computing capabilities, and nearly half (48 percent) said network loads would double over the next two years.

When asked if they were personally ready to take advantage of Big Data opportunities, 35 percent felt "unreservedly ready", 36 percent expressed "readiness but felt the technologies and solutions were lacking", and one out of four (24 percent) did "not feel ready at all".