EY: Cyber-Crime is greatest global threat to organisations' survival today [CPI Financial]
(CPI Financial Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) With information security functions not fully meeting the needs in 83 per cent of organisations, 93 per cent of companies globally are maintaining or increasing their investment in cyber-security to combat the ever increasing threat from cyber-attacks, according to a new survey released by EY.
Under cyber-attack, EY's 16th annual Global Information Security Survey 2013 tracks the level of awareness and action by companies in response to cyber threats and canvases the opinion of over 1,900 senior executives globally. This year's results show that as companies continue to invest heavily to protect themselves against cyber-attacks, the number of security breaches is on the rise and it is no longer of question of if, but when, a company will be the target of an attack.
Thirty-one percent of respondents report the number of security incidents within their organisation has increased by at least five per cent over the last 12 months. Many have realised the extent and depth of the threat posed to them; resulting in information security now being 'owned' at the highest level within 70 per cent of the organisations surveyed.
Paul van Kessel, EY Global Risk Leader said, "This year's survey shows that organisations are moving in the right direction, but more still needs to be done – urgently. There are promising signs that the issue is now gaining traction at the highest levels. In 2012, none of the information security professionals surveyed reported to senior executives – in 2013 this jumped to 35 per cent."
Ken Allan, EY Global Information Security Leader said, "Cyber-crime is the greatest threat for organisations' survival today. While budget allocations toward security innovation are inching their way up, enabling organisations to channel more resources toward innovating solutions that can protect them against the great unknown – the future – many information security professionals continue to feel that their budgets are insufficient to address mounting cyber risks."
Information security departments are still feeling the pinch
Despite half of the respondents planning to increase their budget by five per cent or more in the next 12 months, 65 per cent cite an insufficient budget as their number one challenge to operating at the levels the business expects; and among organisations with revenues of $10m or less this figure rises to 71 per cent.
Of the budgets planned for the next 12 months, 14 per cent is ear-marked for security innovation and emerging technologies. As current technologies become further entrenched in an organisation's network and culture, organisations need to be aware of how employees use the devices, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. This is especially true when it comes to social media, which respondents identified as an area where they continue to still feel unsure in their capability to address risks.
Allan said, "Organisations need to be more forward-looking. Moreover, if organisations are putting all their energy into addressing current technology issues, how will they protect themselves against technologies that are just around the corner or are about to appear on the horizon? If organisations still don't have a high level of confidence after four years of mobile device use in the workplace, how will they face the challenge of managing and defending against personal and hosted clouds for example?"
Information security departments struggle with a lack of skilled resources
Although information security is focusing on the right priorities, in many instances, the function doesn't have the skilled resources or executive awareness and support needed to address them.
In particular, the gap is widening between supply and demand, creating a sellers' market, with 50 per cent of respondents citing a lack of skilled resources as a barrier to value creation. Similarly, where only 20 per cent of previous survey participants indicated a lack of executive awareness or support, 31 per cent now cite it as an issue.
Allan said, "A lack of skilled talent is a global issue. It is particularly acute in Europe, where governments and companies are fiercely competing to recruit the brightest talent to their teams from a very small pool. As a result, while organisations feel they are addressing the right priorities, many indicate that they do not have the skilled resources to support their needs."
Looking ahead van Kessel concludes, "Organisations must undertake more proactive thinking, with tone-from-the-top support. Greater emphasis on improving employee awareness, increasing budgets and devoting more resources to innovating security solutions is needed. The pace of technology evolution will only accelerate – as will the cyber risks and by not considering risks until they arise gives cyber attackers the advantage, jeopardizing an organisation's survival."
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