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Cybersecurity is top concern on paper, reality is different

Staff writer |
IBM Security and IBM's Institute for Business Value (IBV) released a survey of more than 700 C-level executives.

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The study found many leaders across the C-suite are confused about who the true cybersecurity adversary is and how to effectively combat them.

The new study, Securing the C-Suite, Cybersecurity Perspectives from the Boardroom and C-Suite, is based on interviews with CxOs, from 28 countries, across 18 industries, on cybersecurity in the enterprise.

The research excluded the CISO to get a true picture of what everyone else in C-Suite thinks about cybersecurity.

While on paper, cybersecurity is viewed as a top concern of 68 percent of CxOs, and 75 percent believe a comprehensive security plan is important, the study found key executives need to be more engaged with CISOs beyond planning for security, and take more active role.

A major finding of the study was that 70 percent of CxOs think rogue individuals make up the largest threat to their organizations.

The reality is that 80 percent of cyberattacks are driven by highly organized crime rings in which data, tools and expertise are widely shared according to a United Nations report.

The study found that a broad set of adversaries concerned the C-Suite including 54 percent who acknowledged crime rings were a concern, but they gave nearly equal weight of concern to competitors at 50 percent.

Over 50 percent of CEOs agree collaboration is necessary to combat cybercrime. Ironically, only one-third of CEOs expressed willingness to share their organization's cybersecurity incident information externally.

This exposes a resistance to widespread and coordinated industry collaboration, while hacking groups continue to perfect their ability to share information in near real-time on the Dark Web.

CEOs also emphasize that external parties need to do more; stronger government oversight, increased industry collaboration and cross-border information sharing – a dichotomy that needs to be resolved.

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