Cisco has published its fifth annual 2019 CISO Benchmark Study a comprehensive survey of more than 3000 security leaders across 18 countries.
This year’s results show security professionals are placing a higher priority on vendor consolidation, collaboration between networking and security teams, and security awareness exercises to strengthen an organisations security posture and reduce the risk of breaches.
To further address complexity challenges, many CISOs are increasingly confident that migrating to the cloud will improve protection efforts, while apparently decreasing reliance on less proven technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).
Complex security environments made up of solutions from 10 or more security vendors could be hampering security professional’s visibility across their environments.
65% of respondents do not find it easy to determine the scope of a compromise, contain it and remediate from exploits.
The unknown threats that exist outside the enterprise in the form of users, data, devices, and apps is also a top concern for CISOs.
To help address these challenges, and better protect their organisations, of those surveyed:
Survey respondents also noted the continued high financial impact of breaches.
45% of respondents reported the financial impact of a breach to their organisation was more than $500,000.
The good news is that more than 50% of respondents are driving breach costs below half a million.
But there remains a stubborn 8% claiming an eye-watering cost of more than $5 million per incident for their most significant breach of the past year.
“This year, more than ever CISOs are taking a much more proactive role in reducing their exposure through consolidation and training, as well as investments in critical technologies, for cyber defence and breach containment, but there is still more to do,” says Cisco CISO and senior vice president Steve Martino.
“You can’t protect what you can’t see, and security leaders are still struggling to gain greater visibility across their organisation and into threats. Cisco is committed to helping organisations address these challenges and implement new techniques and technology to stay one step ahead of malicious actors and threats.”
The following findings highlight some of these positive developments security professionals have made to improve their security posture:
The trend away from point products to vendor consolidation continues - in 2017 54% of respondents cited 10 or fewer vendors in their environment. This number has risen to 63%.
The survey showed that even those CISOs with fewer point solutions could better manage their alerts through an enterprise architecture approach.
There is more confidence in cloud-delivered security and in securing the cloud.
AI and machine learning (ML), used right, are essential to the initial stages of alert prioritisation and management.
However, reliance on these technologies has decreased as respondents possibly perceive the tools to be still in their infancy or not ready for prime time:
Employees/users continue to be one of the greatest protection challenges for many CISOs - having an organisational process that starts with security awareness training on day one is essential.
Email security remains the number one threat vector.
Recommendations for CISOs: