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CISOs More Worried Than Ever About Data Breaches: 67% Concerned They'll Experience a Data Breach or Cyberattack in 2018, New Opus & Ponemon Institute Survey Shows
[January 11, 2018]

CISOs More Worried Than Ever About Data Breaches: 67% Concerned They'll Experience a Data Breach or Cyberattack in 2018, New Opus & Ponemon Institute Survey Shows

NEW YORK and LONDON, Jan. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Chief Information Security Officers are feeling less confident than ever about cyber-risk and data security this year, a new survey from Opus, the leading provider of global compliance and risk management solutions, and data and privacy research leader Ponemon Institute shows. As today's climate of high-profile data breaches continues, 67% of respondents believe their companies are more likely to fall victim to a cyberattack or data breach in 2018. And, 60% are more concerned about a data breach from a third party, such as a partner or vendor.

Sponsored by Opus and conducted by Ponemon Institute in late 2017, the survey reveals insights from 612 CISOs, CIOs and other information security professionals across a broad range of industries.

Surprisingly, the top security threat on CISOs' minds isn't technology, hackers or even malware but the human factor, with 70% of CISOs calling "lack of competent in-house staff" their number one concern and 65% stating "inadequate inhouse expertise" as the top reason they are likely to have a data breach. Respondents also believe it's highly likely they'll experience credential theft due to a careless employee falling for a phishing scam – a 65% chance – even more likely than a malware attack, a data breach or a cyberattack.

Other key factors singled out as likely reasons for data breaches include the inability to protect sensitive and confidential data from unauthorized access (59%); inability to keep up with the sophistication of the attackers (56%); and failure to control third parties' use of sensitive data (51%.)

Disruptive technologies are also a concern, with IoT devices considered the most challenging to secure (60% of respondents), followed by mobile (54%) and cloud (50%.)

Despite the risks, less than half believe their IT security budgets will go up.

Not surprisingly, all this stress is taking a toll.  69% of respondents anticipate their roles will be even more stressful in 2018 and 45% fear job loss in the event of a data breach.

On the positive side, more than a thid do see a path to a stronger cybersecurity posture, and half say their Boards are becoming more involved in IT security, providing more internal support. Top areas CISOs identified that could drive improvement included cyber-intelligence, staffing and leadership – underscoring once again the importance of humans to information security – as well as technology improvements.

Dov Goldman, VP, Innovation & Alliances of Opus, said, "Once again, we find that people – not just third parties – are the weak link in information security. Smart companies can't prevent all data breaches, but implementing solid risk management programs supported by good governance, training, proven frameworks and robust technology will go a long way to reducing risk and alleviating CISO stress."

Mr. Goldman recommended several best practices, including evaluating the security and privacy practices of all vendors and third parties; creating an inventory of all third parties; and improving security posture using ongoing monitoring.

Dr. Larry Ponemon commented, "It's not an easy time to be a CISO – there's a lot of pain obvious in these survey results. Data breaches and cyber-attacks continue to plague organizations and the responsibility of protecting sensitive data stops with the CISO. It's critical that companies support CISOs and reduce risk by implementing standard processes, including policy review and documentation, senior leadership and board member oversight, as well as other safeguards to reduce their vulnerability."

Download the Survey Results & Register for the Webinar
To download the survey results, visit

To register for the Opus and Ponemon Institute webinar discussing the report on Tuesday, January 16 at 10 a.m. ET, go to

About Opus

Opus is a global risk and compliance SaaS and data solution provider, created through a $500 million partnership between GTCR, one of the world's leading private equity firms, and Doug Bergeron, Chairman of Opus.

Opus was founded on a simple premise: that faster, better decisions in compliance and risk management give businesses an extraordinary advantage in the marketplace.

Today, the world's most respected global corporations rely on Opus to free their business from the complexity and uncertainty of managing customer, supplier and third-party risks.

By combining the most innovative SaaS platforms with unparalleled data solutions, Opus turns information into action so businesses thrive.

For more information about Opus, please visit or for information security

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