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Cybersecurity a growing issue: Innovations only go so far

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 18 Nov 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cybersecurity is a growing issue for a number of organisations around the world, with cloud, mobile devices and board-level involvement all key weakness, according to Tenable Network Security’s 2016 Global Cybersecurity Assurance Report Card.

The report card tallied responses from six countries and seven industry verticals, and calculated a global score reflecting the overall confidence levels of security practitioners.

According to survey data, global cybersecurity earned an overall score of 76% - which equates a ‘C’ average.

Nearly 40% of respondents said they feel ‘about the same’ or ‘more pessimistic’ about their organisations’ ability to defend against cyber attacks compared to last year.

When asked about the biggest challenges facing them today, the practitioners cited an overwhelming threat environment as the biggest challenge, while reporting relative confidence in the effectiveness of cybersecurity products.

“What this tells me is that while security innovations solve specific new challenges, practitioners are struggling to effectively deploy an overarching security strategy without gaps between defences,” says Ron Gula, Tenable Network Security CEO.

“It’s no surprise that many in the profession feel overwhelmed by the increasingly complex threat environment.

“The recent, unprecedented cyberattacks have disrupted business for leading global companies, infiltrated governments and shaken confidence among security practitioners.

“With so much at stake, organisations need to know whether their security programmes are effective or if they are falling short,” Gula says.

Key findings include:

  • Cloudy days ahead: Respondents consistently cited cloud applications (graded D+) and cloud infrastructure (D) as two of the three most challenging IT components for assessing cybersecurity risks.
  • A mobile dilemma: Mobile devices (D) also were reported as particularly challenging when assessing cyber risks. The inability to even detect transient mobile devices in the first place (C) was another big challenge for the world’s security practitioners.
  • Uninvested board members: On the upside, respondents largely believe they have the tools in place to measure overall security effectiveness (B-) and to convey security risks to executives and board members. On the downside, respondents question whether their executives and board members fully understand those security risks (C+) and are investing enough to mitigate them (C).

Cybersecurity assurance report cards by industry

  • Education: D (64%)
  • Financial Services: B- (81%)
  • Government: D (66%)
  • Health Care: C (73%)
  • Manufacturing: C (76%)
  • Retail: C+ (77%)
  • Telecom & Technology: B- (81%)

“These index scores reflect a startling lack of ability to detect and assess cyber risk in both cloud infrastructure and applications as well as mobile devices,” says Gula.

“Another concern is the uphill battle security professionals face in mobilising their organizations’ leadership to prioritise security.

“There’s a disconnect between the CISO and the boardroom that must be bridged before real progress can be made,” he says.

Original research for the 2016 Global Cybersecurity Assurance Report Card was conducted by CyberEdge Group, a research and marketing firm serving the security industry’s top vendors. 

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