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December 9, 2014

Organisations are outgunned in the cyber war

IBM's CISO Study reveals organisations are struggling to defend against sophisticated cyber attacks.

By Ellie Burns

60% of security leaders believe attackers have outstripped their organisations cyber security capabilities, while 80% believe that the challenges posed by external threats is on the rise.

The findings, released today by IBM in their third annual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) study, also revealed that technology is seen as a critical component in addressing these security issues and threats, with big data, cloud and mobile named as the most significant areas of prioritisation.

Sophisticated external threats were identified by 40% of security leaders as their top challenge, with regulations coming in a distant second at just under 15%.

These external threats will require the most organisational effort over the next three to five years – as much as regulations, new technologies, and internal threats combined.

"CISOs are finally getting a seat in the Boardroom," said Brendan Hannigan, General Manager, IBM Security. "Security leaders must now use this growing influence to deliver better results: prioritising the protection of critical assets, focusing investments on intelligence and recruiting top industry talent to augment internal efforts."

The study also aimed to understand how organisations are protecting themselves against cyber attacks, revealing how 70% of security leaders believed their mature, traditional technologies focused on network intrusion prevention, advanced malware detection and network vulnerability scanning.

This was in contrast to 50% of those surveyed who stated that their top priority was to deploy new security technology, identifying data leakage prevention, cloud security and mobile/device security as the top three areas in need of dramatic transformation.

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Other findings from the study revealed how 90% of respondents had adopted, or plan to adopt, cloud, with 75% of this group expecting to see their cloud security budgets increase over the next three to five years.

The study also highlighted how the role of security leaders has changed, as organisations redefine their view of security. 90% believed that they have significant influence in their organisation, with 76% stating that their degree of influence has significantly increased in the last three years.

IBM’s third annual CISO study was conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights and is based on responses from 138 in-depth interviews with the surveyed organisations most senior security leaders.

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