Only 2% of Organizations Possess Advanced Cybersecurity Readiness

Only two percent of organisations possess a “mature” level of cybersecurity readiness, as revealed by Cisco’s 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index.

Presented at this week’s Enterprise Connect, this concerning statistic indicates a decline from last year, where 17 percent of organisations were considered mature in cybersecurity readiness. Equally troubling is the fact that the majority of organisations, a staggering 72 percent, fall under Cisco’s Beginner or Formative stages of cybersecurity readiness.

The Readiness Index captures a period marked by hyperconnectivity and a continually evolving threat landscape. Despite efforts to defend against various cyber threats like phishing, ransomware, and social engineering attacks, businesses struggle due to overly complex security postures relying on multiple-point solutions. These challenges are exacerbated in distributed working environments where data is dispersed across numerous services, devices, applications, and users.

Despite the complexity of the situation, Cisco’s findings report that 78 percent of companies express moderate to high confidence in their ability to defend against cyberattacks using their current infrastructure. However, Cisco warns that this confidence might be misplaced, emphasizing the necessity for more comprehensive evaluations of cybersecurity readiness.

Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco, remarked:

We cannot ignore the peril posed by our own overconfidence. Organizations today must prioritize investments in integrated platforms and leverage AI to operate at scale, tipping the balance in favor of defenders.

The data is derived from a double-blind survey of 8,136 private sector global business leaders responsible for cybersecurity in their organizations and conducted by a third party.

The Index assesses companies’ readiness across five critical pillars: Identity Intelligence, Network Resilience, Machine Trustworthiness, Cloud Reinforcement, and AI Fortification, covering 31 corresponding solutions and capabilities. Respondents indicate their deployed solutions and deployment stage, enabling classification into four readiness stages: Beginner, Formative, Progressive, and Mature.

Other Noteworthy Statistics

Cisco’s research indicates that a majority of organisations anticipate future cybersecurity incidents despite the concerning cybersecurity readiness levels.

Seventy percent of respondents foresee a cybersecurity incident disrupting their business within the next 12 to 24 months. The consequences of being unprepared are significant, with 54 percent reporting a cybersecurity incident in the past year, of which 52 percent incurred costs of at least US$300,000.

Additionally, the presence of unsecure and unmanaged devices adds complexity. Eighty percent of companies revealed that their employees access company platforms from unmanaged devices, and 40 percent spend a significant portion of their time connected to company networks using such devices. Moreover, 26 percent of employees switch between at least six networks within a week.

Talent shortages in cybersecurity pose a critical challenge, with 85 percent of companies citing it as an impediment to cybersecurity readiness. Furthermore, 41 percent reported having more than ten vacant cybersecurity-related roles within their organization at the time of the survey.

Organizations recognize the necessity to increase cybersecurity investments in the future. Forty-seven percent of organizations plan significant IT infrastructure upgrades in the next 12-24 months, up from 31 percent the previous year. Primarily, they intend to enhance existing solutions (70 percent), deploy new ones (60 percent), and invest in AI technology (55 percent). Moreover, 96 percent anticipate boosting cybersecurity budgets, with the majority planning increases of 10 percent or more.

Cisco’s Enterprise Connect And Two Intriguing Studies

This week not only featured Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index but also a compelling new study.

The 2024 Hybrid Work Survey by Cisco revealed that less than half of workers believe their offices are adequately prepared for hybrid work.

The survey underscores that while employees are generally optimistic about returning to the office to some extent, they find the spaces geared more towards individual work rather than fostering collaboration. Seventy-two percent of employees surveyed expressed hope about returning to the office but desired better-equipped spaces for collaboration, while only 47 percent believe their work environments are suited for the new hybrid work era.

With 81 percent of employers mentioning that they have already redesigned or plan to redesign office space, and 83 percent acknowledging that collaboration-driven enhancements attract and retain talent, there is a growing recognition of the need for offices to facilitate collaboration and innovation in hybrid work models.

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