Mumbai: Cyber security is now front and center on organizations’ boardroom agendas, but most chief information security officers (CISOs) haveyet to earn a seat at the table. According to a study by ISACA and RSA Conference, 82 percent of cyber security and information security professionals polled in the survey report that their boardof directors is concerned or very concerned about cyber security, but only 1 in 7 (14 percent) CISOs reports to the CEO.
This gap between belief and actions at the highest levels of management is playing out in an environment where 74 percent of security professionals expect a cyberattack in 2016 and 30 percent experience phishing attacks every day, according to the ISACA/RSA Conference State of Cyber security study.
“While there are signs that C-level executives increasingly understand the importance of cyber security, there are still opportunities for improvement,” said Jennifer Lawinski, Editor-in-Chief, RSA Conference. “The majority of CISOs still report to CIOs, which shows cyber security is viewed as a technical rather than business issue. This survey highlights the discrepancy to provide an opportunity for growth for the info sec community in the future.”
The cyber security skills gap poses its own threat to keeping an enterprise safe. The past year saw a 12-point drop in the percentage of security professionals who are confident in their team’s ability to detect and respond to incidents, dipping from 87 percent in 2014 to 75 percent in 2015. Among those 75 percent, 6 in 10do notbelieve their staff can handle anything beyond simple cybersecurity incidents. In addition, the number who say that fewer than half of job candidates were considered “qualified upon hire” has risen from 50 percent to 59 percent in a year. Twenty-seven percent need six months to fill a cyber security position, up three points from 2014.
“The lack of confidence in current cyber security skill levels shows that conventional approaches to training are lacking,” said Ron Hale, Chief Knowledge Officer of ISACA. “Hands-on, skills-based training is critical to closing the cyber security skills gap and effectively developing a strong cyber workforce.”
With New Tech Comes More Risk
The State of Cyber security study also looked at perceived connections between risk and two emerging industry trends: artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things. Rather than viewing deep-thinking machines as their ally in detecting and combating cyber attacks, respondents believe that AI will increase risk in both the short (42 percent) and long (62 percent)term. Less surprising was that more than half (53 percent) of respondents are concerned or very concerned that the Internet of Things will expand attack surfaces further and exacerbate cyber risk.
The survey also highlighted a marked lack of situational awareness for professionals who report that cyber security or information security is their primary role:
– 24 percent did not know if any user credentials were stolen in 2015
– 24percent did not know which threat actors exploited their organizations
– 23 percent did not know whether their organization had experienced an advanced persistent threat (APT) attack
– 20 percent did not know whether any corporate assets were hijacked for botnet use
Despite the fact that most CISOs report into an organization’s technology function, this year’s study shows encouraging signs that cyber security does earn respect. Among those surveyed, 61 percent expect their cyber security budget to increase in 2016 and 75 percent say their organization’s cyber security strategy now aligns to enterprise objectives.
Lawinski and Hale will present a session on these findings and their implications at RSA Conference on Thursday, March 3. The survey is the second annual State of Cyber security study from RSA Conference and ISACA’s Cyber security Nexus (CSX)
ISACA created CSX to help address a growing worldwide cyber security skills crisis. CSX is a central location of cyber security research, guidance, certificates and certifications, education, mentoring and community. ISACA recently introduced skills-based training with performance-based exams and CSX certifications to help professionals build and evolve their careers in cyber security. Last year marked the successful debut to a sold-out crowd of the North America CSX 2015 Conference, dedicated specifically to cyber security. In 2016 ISACA is expanding the cyber security event to Europe and Asia.
The annual State of Cyber security study is based on online polling of 461 professionals around the world whose primary job function is cyber security or information security. These were drawn from an overall sample of 842 professionals who hold ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager® (CISM®) or CSX Practitioner® designations or are RSA Conference constituents. The survey was conducted between November and December 2015 and has a margin of error of +/-3.5percent. Visit www.isaca.org/state-of-cybersecurity-2016 to see the full results.
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