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The cybersecurity threat landscape is evolving rapidly—and just 3 percent of businesses globally are prepared: New Cisco report offers a deep dive

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Public Relations

Businesses are poised to turn the corner this year on the road to AI Maturity, but e-predators are also amping up their malicious sophistication, and posing threats now that could catch nearly all companies and IT departments with their guards down. New research from Cisco reveals that only three percent of organizations across the globe have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against modern cybersecurity risks—and that level of readiness is down significantly from one year ago, when 15 percent of companies were ranked mature.

cybersecurity threatThe firm’s new 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index was developed in an era defined by hyperconnectivity and a rapidly evolving threat landscape. Companies today continue to be targeted with a variety of techniques that range from phishing and ransomware to supply chain and social engineering attacks. And while they are building defenses against these attacks, they still struggle to defend against them, slowed down by their own overly complex security postures that are dominated by multiple point solutions.

These challenges are compounded in today’s distributed working environments where data can be spread across limitless services, devices, applications, and users. However, 80 percent of companies still feel moderately to very confident in their ability to defend against a cyberattack with their current infrastructure—and this disparity between confidence and readiness suggests that companies may have misplaced confidence in their ability to navigate the threat landscape and may not be properly assessing the true scale of the challenges they face.

Underprepared and overconfident companies tackle an evolving threat landscape

The Index assesses the readiness of companies on five key pillars: Identity Intelligence, Network Resilience, Machine Trustworthiness, Cloud Reinforcement, and AI Fortification, which are comprised of 31 corresponding solutions and capabilities. 

cybersecurity threat

It is based on a double-blind survey of more than 8,000 private sector security and business leaders across 30 global markets conducted by an independent third party. The respondents were asked to indicate which of these solutions and capabilities they had deployed and the stage of deployment. Companies were then classified into four stages of increasing readiness: Beginner, Formative, Progressive and Mature.

“We cannot underestimate the threat posed by our own overconfidence,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco, in a news release. “Today’s organizations need to prioritize investments in integrated platforms and lean into AI in order to operate at machine scale and finally tip the scales in the favor of defenders.”

Overall, the study found that only three percent of companies are ready to tackle today’s threats, with two-thirds of organizations falling into the Beginner or Formative stages of readiness. 

cybersecurity threatFuture cyber incidents expected

Three percent of respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. The cost of being unprepared can be substantial, as 54 percent of respondents said they experienced a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 52 percent of those affected said it cost them at least $300,000.

Point solution overload

The traditional approach of adopting multiple cybersecurity point solutions has not delivered effective results, as 80 percent of respondents admitted that having multiple point solutions slowed down their team’s ability to detect, respond and recover from incidents. This raises significant concerns as 67 percent of organizations said they have deployed ten or more point solutions in their security stacks, while 25 percent said they have 30 or more.

Unsecure and unmanaged devices add complexity

Eighty-five percent of companies said their employees access company platforms from unmanaged devices, and 43 percent of those spend one-fifth (20 percent) of their time logged onto company networks from unmanaged devices. Additionally, 29 percent reported that their employees hop between at least six networks over a week.

The cyber talent gap persists

Progress is being further hampered by critical talent shortages, with 87 percent of companies highlighting it as an issue. In fact, 46 percent of companies said they had more than ten roles related to cybersecurity unfilled in their organization at the time of the survey.

Future cyber investments ramping up

Companies are aware of the challenge and are ramping up their defenses with over half (52 percent) planning to significantly upgrade their IT infrastructure in the next 12 to 24 months. This is a marked increase from just one-third (33 percent) who planned to do so last year. Most prominently, organizations plan to upgrade existing solutions (66 percent), deploy new solutions (57 percent), and invest in AI-driven technologies (55 percent). Further, 97 percent of companies expect to increase their cybersecurity budget in the next 12 months, and 86 percent respondents say their budgets will increase by 10 percent or more.

cybersecurity threat

To overcome the challenges of today’s threat landscape, companies must accelerate meaningful investments in security, including adoption of innovative security measures and a security platform approach, strengthen their network resilience, establish meaningful use of generative AI, and ramp up recruitment to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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