Only 65% have a cybersecurity expert: survey

Only 65% have a cybersecurity expert: survey

Despite 95 per cent of CIO expecting cyberthreats to increase over the next three years, only 65 per cent of their organisations currently have a cybersecurity expert, according to a survey from Gartner. The survey also reveals that skills challenges continue to plague organisations that undergo digitalisation, with digital security staffing shortages considered a top inhibitor to innovation.

Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and across major industries, representing approximately US$13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets and US$277 billion in IT spending.

The survey indicates that cybersecurity remains a source of deep concern for organisations. Many cybercriminals not only operate in ways that organisations struggle to anticipate, but also demonstrate a readiness to adapt to changing environments, according to Rob McMillan, research director at Gartner.

“In a twisted way, many cybercriminals are digital pioneers, finding ways to leverage big data and web-scale techniques to stage attacks and steal data,” said Mr McMillan. “CIOs can’t protect their organisations from everything, so they need to create a sustainable set of controls that balances their need to protect their business with their need to run it.”

Thirty-five per cent of survey respondents indicate that their organisation has already invested in and deployed some aspect of digital security, while an additional 36 per cent are actively experimenting or planning to implement in the short term. Gartner predicts that 60 per cent of security budgets will be in support of detection and response capabilities by 2020.

“Taking a risk-based approach is imperative to set a target level of cybersecurity readiness,” Mr. McMillan said. “Raising budgets alone doesn’t create an improved risk posture. Security investments must be prioritised by business outcomes to ensure the right amount is spent on the right things.”

Business growth introduces new attack vectors

According to the survey, many CIO consider growth and market share as the top-ranked business priority for 2018. Growth often means more diverse supplier networks; different ways of working, funding models and patterns of technology investing; as well as different products, services and channels to support.

“The bad news is that cybersecurity threats will affect more enterprises in more diverse ways that are difficult to anticipate,” Mr McMillan said. “While the expectation of a more dangerous environment is hardly news to the informed CIO, these growth factors will introduce new attack vectors and new risks that they’re not accustomed to addressing.”

Continue to build bench strength

The survey revealed that 93 per cent of CIO at top-performing organisations say that digital business has enabled them to lead IT organisations that are adaptable and open to change. To the benefit of many security practices, this cultural openness broadens the organisation’s attitude toward new recruitment and training avenues.

“Cybersecurity is faced with a well-documented skills shortage, which is considered a top inhibitor to innovation,” Mr McMillan said. “Finding talented, driven people to handle the organisation’s cybersecurity responsibilities is an endless function.”

According to Gartner, while most organisations have a role dedicated to cybersecurity expertise, and therefore appreciate its needs, the cybersecurity skills shortage continues. Gartner recommends that chief information security officers (CISO) continue to build bench strength through innovative approaches to developing the security team’s capabilities.

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