SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022

By Catherine Knowles
Fri 13 May 2022

ThoughtLab, the global research firm, has announced the findings of its 2022 cybersecurity benchmarking study, Cybersecurity Solutions for a Riskier World.

The study analysed the cybersecurity strategies and results of 1,200 large organisations across 14 different sectors and 16 countries, representing $125.2 billion of annual cybersecurity spending.

The research revealed that the pandemic has brought cybersecurity to a critical inflection point. The number of material breaches respondents suffered rose 20.5% from 2020 to 2021, and cybersecurity budgets as a percentage of firms’ total revenue jumped 51%, from 0.53% to 0.80%.

During that time, cybersecurity became a strategic business imperative, requiring CEOs and their management teams to work together to meet the higher expectations of regulators, shareholders and the board.

In addition, the role of the chief information security officer (CISO) expanded, with many taking on responsibility for data security (49%), customer and insider fraud (44%), supply chain management (34%), enterprise and geopolitical risk management (30%), and digital transformation and business strategy (29%).

Yet 29% of CEOs and CISOs and 40% of chief security officers admit their organisations are unprepared for a rapidly changing threat landscape.

The reasons cited include the complexity of supply chains (44%), the fast pace of digital innovation (41%), inadequate cybersecurity budgets and lack of executive support (both 28%), convergence of digital and physical assets (25%), and shortage of talent (24%).

The highest percentages of unprepared organisations were in critical infrastructure industries: healthcare (35%), the public sector (34%), telecoms (31%), and aerospace and defence (31%).

Over the next two years, security executives expect an increase in attacks from social engineering and ransomware as nation-states and cybercriminals become more prolific, according to the report.

Executives anticipate that these attacks will target weak spots primarily caused by software misconfigurations (49%), human error (40%), poor maintenance (40%) and unknown assets (30%).

As part of ThoughtLab’s evidence-based research, its economists assessed the cybersecurity performance of corporate and government organisations against 26 metrics, including times to detect, respond to and mitigate a cybersecurity breach, as well as the number of material breaches suffered.

The benchmarking study revealed 10 best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen. These are as follows.

1. Take cybersecurity maturity to the highest level. Organisations that are most advanced in applying the NIST cybersecurity framework outperform others on key metrics, such as time to detect a breach (119 days for advanced vs. 132 days for others). They also have fewer annual material breaches (0.76 for advanced vs. 0.81 for others).

2. Ensure cybersecurity budgets are adequate. ThoughtLab’s analysis found a clear correlation between investment and results. Respondents reporting multiple material breaches in 2021 spent 12.3% of their total IT spending on cybersecurity, while those reporting no material breaches in 2021 spent an average of 12.8%, or $4.7 million more. Organisations that spent more also reported faster times to detect and mitigate a breach.

3. Build a rigorous risk-based approach. On average, risk-based leaders - i.e., those most advanced in quantitative analysis of risk probabilities and impacts - saw 22.5 incidents and 0.75 material breaches in 2021, vs. 27.1 incidents and 0.88 material breaches for risk-based beginners. In addition, 50% of top performers in time to mitigate took a risk-based approach vs. 17% of poor performers.

4. Make cybersecurity people centric. Cybersecurity is as much about humans as it is about technology. Organisations see fewer breaches and faster times to respond when they build a "human layer" of security, create a culture sensitive to cybersecurity risks, build more effective training programs, and develop clear processes for recruiting and retaining cyber staff.

5. Secure the supply chain. For 44% of respondents, the growing use of suppliers is exposing them to major cybersecurity risks. Top performers in time to detect, respond, and mitigate are far more mature in supply chain security. For example, over half of organisations with excellent times to detect are advanced in supply chain security vs. 25% of those with poor times to detect.

6. Draw on latest technologies but avoid product proliferation. Organisations with no breaches invest in a mix of solutions, from the fundamentals such as email security and identity management, to more specialised tools such as security information and event management systems (SIEMs). These organisations are also more likely to take a multi-layered, multi-vendor security approach to monitor and manage risks better through a strong infrastructure.

7. Prioritise protection of links between information and operating technologies. With digital and physical worlds converging, the attack surfaces for respondents are widening. Organisations that prioritise protection of interconnected IT and OT assets experience fewer material breaches and faster times to detect and respond.

8. Harness intelligent automation. Automation, combined with AI and orchestration, helps CISOs deliver results while freeing up staff from mundane tasks. For example, about three out of 10 organisations with excellent dwell times (the time to detect and remediate) use smart automation vs. 17% of organisations with poor dwell times.

9. Improve security controls for expanded attack surfaces. Attack surfaces widened during the pandemic because of greater digital transformation, cloud migration, remote working, and supply chain complexity. Our research shows that more companies need to put security controls in place to cover their expanding technology environments.

10. Do more to measure performance. Currently organisations track just 4.2 cybersecurity metrics on average. Executive teams that are more assiduous - monitoring six or more metrics - experience fewer incidents and material breaches. They also respond faster to attacks.

The research program drew on the expertise of a group of cybersecurity leaders and experts from across the private sector, government and academia.

The group includes global consulting sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton; lead sponsors Elastic, KnowBe4, Skybox Security, Securonix, Claroty, Axis Communications, Votiro, and Zenkey; supporting sponsors ServiceNow, CyberCube, and Resolute Strategic Services; and research partners Internet Security Alliance and ISF.

The advisory board consists of CISOs and other cybersecurity experts from a cross-section of industries.

ThoughtLab CEO and the program's research director Lou Celi says, "The move to digital during the pandemic - and now escalating geopolitical tensions - are ushering in a new era of cybersecurity risk that will require stronger leadership and wider teamwork among C-Suite executives and their staffs.

"While there is no silver bullet, our evidence-based research reveals that organisations need to take their cybersecurity programs to a higher level of excellence by ensuring they are proactive, risk-based, human-centric, digitally advanced, and properly resourced."

Booz Allen Hamilton vice president Paul Sussman says, "This landmark study fills a growing need for industry-specific cybersecurity metrics that companies can use to measure their performance against their peers. The research shows that firms have made considerable progress against cybersecurity frameworks like NIST, but they need to do more to keep their organisations safe."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Could New Zealanders initiate a cyber attack from within?
The threat landscape is significantly increasing worldwide, and the opportunities it presents are a growing concern in Aotearoa.
Story image
PIJF
The path to bolstering supply chain security in New Zealand
A significant amount of today's business and leisure activity relies on IT supply chains. From complex international freight trades to local small business distribution channels, any supply chain that involves IT infrastructure serves as a crucial tool in our daily lives. 
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Transport
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC ranks third-highest region targeted by ransomware
Asia Pacific has ranked the third-highest region globally to be targeted by ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Group-IB.
Story image
Ransomware
Employees on the frontline of cyber defense - report
In the first quarter of 2022, employees found themselves more than ever at the frontline of cyber defense, according to a new report from Kroll. 
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Microsoft
Global cybersecurity insurance market worth $11.5b this year
Future Market Insights finds the cybersecurity insurance market is expected to reach USD$11.5 billion in 2022, growing to $61.2 billion in 10 years.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Ransomware
CERT NZ releases first Cyber Security Insights for 2022
CERT NZ has released Quarter One: Cyber Security Insights 2022, which offers an overview of reports about cybersecurity incidents affecting New Zealanders.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Cybercrime
The ups and downs and runarounds of catching cybercriminals in NZ
We're becoming more and more aware of cybercrimes but how many criminals actually get caught? The New Zealand police explain why the answer is complicated.
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Asia Pacific plagued by sophisticated bad bots - report
The three most common bot attacks were account takeover, content or price scraping, and scalping to obtain limited-availability items.
Story image
Phishing
Vishing attacks reach all time high - Agari and PhishLabs
"Hybrid vishing campaigns continue to generate stunning numbers, representing 26.1% of total share in volume so far in 2022."
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
Malware
'Alarming' rise in ransomware threats - Verizon report
As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Malware
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.