According to the second installment of ISACA’s 2017 State of Cyber Security Study, new and evolving threats combined with persistent resource challenges limit organizations’ abilities to defend against cyber intrusions. The report shows that the growth in both the volume and complexity of cyber attacks is presenting unprecedented challenges for organizations, which are struggling to devote the necessary resources to keeping pace with the threat landscape.
80 percent of the security leaders who participated in the survey believe it is likely their enterprise will experience a cyber attack this year, but many organizations are struggling to keep pace with the threat environment. More than half (53 percent) of survey respondents reported a year-over-year increase in cyber attacks for 2016, representing a combination of changing threat entry points and types of threats:
• IoT overtook mobile as primary focus for cyber defenses as 97 percent of organizations see rise in its usage. As IoT becomes more prevalent in organizations, cyber security professionals need to ensure protocols are in place to safeguard new threat entry points.
• Sixty-two percent reported experiencing ransomware in 2016 but only 53 percent have a formal process in place to address it—a concerning number given the significant international impact of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack.
• Malicious attacks that can impair an organization’s operations or user data remain high in general (78 percent of organizations reporting attacks).
Additionally, fewer than 1 in 3 organizations (31 percent) say they routinely test their security controls, and 13 percent never test them. Sixteen percent do not have an incident response plan. “There is a significant and concerning gap between the threats an organization faces and its readiness to address those threats in a timely or effective manner,” said Christos Dimitriadis, ISACA board chairman and group head of information security at INTRALOT. “Cyber security professionals face huge demands to secure organizational infrastructure, and teams need to be properly trained, resourced and prepared.”
The Cyber Security Resource Problem
This year’s survey respondents indicated that, while cyber security is a priority for enterprise leadership, roadblocks facing cyber security professionals remain. However, the good news is that more organizations than ever now employ a chief information security officer— 65 percent, up from 50 percent in 2016. However, security leaders continue to struggle to fill open cyber security positions, as part one of this year’s State of Cyber Security report indicated, and nearly half (48 percent) of respondents don’t feel comfortable with their cyber team’s ability to address anything beyond simple cyber security issues. Additionally, more than half of all respondents say cyber security professionals lack an ability to understand the business.
Though training is critically needed to address these skill shortages, 1 in 4 organizations have training budgets of less than USD 1000 per cyber security team member. While overall cyber security budgets remain strong, fewer organizations are increasing their budgets this year. About half will see budget increases, down from 61 percent in 2016.
“The rise of CISOs in organizations demonstrates a growing leadership commitment to securing the enterprise, which is an encouraging sign,” said Dimiatridis. “But that’s not a cure-all. With the number of malicious attacks increasing, organizations can’t afford a resource slowdown. Yet with so many respondents showing a lack of confidence in their teams’ ability to address complex issues, we know there is more that must be done to address the urgent cyber security challenges faced by all enterprises.”