Pete Linforth

Gartner survey finds only 65% of organizations have cybersecurity expert

(Image by Pete Linfort/Pixabay)

Despite high-profile cyber attacks and massive data breaches happening recently, organizations don’t see the need to have cybersecurity experts onboard. Industry research firm Gartner finds that despite 95 percent of CIOs (chief information officers) expecting cyberthreats to increase over the next three years, only 65 percent of their organizations currently have a cybersecurity expert.

The survey also reveals that skills challenges continue to plague organizations that undergo digitalization, with digital security staffing shortages considered a top inhibitor to innovation.

Gartner’s “2018 CIO Agenda Survey” gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and across major industries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue or public sector budgets and $277 billion in IT (information technology) spending.

The survey indicates that cybersecurity remains a source of deep concern for organizations. Many cybercriminals not only operate in ways that organizations struggle to anticipate, but also demonstrate a readiness to adapt to changing environments, according to Rob McMillan, research director at Gartner.

Digital pioneers

“In a twisted way, many cybercriminals are digital pioneers, finding ways to leverage big data and web-scale techniques to stage attacks and steal data,” said McMillan. “CIOs can’t protect their organizations from everything, so they need to create a sustainable set of controls that balance their need to protect their business with their need to run it.”

Thirty-five percent of survey respondents indicate that their organization has already invested in and deployed some aspect of digital security, while an additional 36 percent are actively experimenting or planning to implement in the short term. Gartner predicts that 60 percent of security budgets will be in support of detection and response capabilities by 2020.

“Taking a risk-based approach is imperative to set a target level of cybersecurity readiness,” McMillan said. “Raising budgets alone doesn’t create an improved risk posture. Security investments must be prioritized by business outcomes to ensure the right amount is spent on the right things.”

Growth means new attack vectors

According to the survey, many CIOs consider growth and market share as the top-ranked business priority for 2018. Growth often means more diverse supplier networks; different ways of working, funding models and patterns of technology investing; as well as different products, services and channels to support.

“The bad news is that cybersecurity threats will affect more enterprises in more diverse ways that are difficult to anticipate,” McMillan said. “While the expectation of a more dangerous environment is hardly news to the informed CIO, these growth factors will introduce new attack vectors and new risks that they’re not accustomed to addressing.”

The survey revealed that 93 percent of CIOs at top-performing organizations say that digital business has enabled them to lead IT organizations that are adaptable and open to change. For the benefit of many security practices, this cultural openness broadens the organization’s attitude toward new recruitment and training avenues.

Skills shortage

“Cybersecurity is faced with a well-documented skills shortage, which is considered a top inhibitor to innovation,” McMillan said. “Finding talented, driven people to handle the organization’s cybersecurity responsibilities is an endless function.”

According to Gartner, while most organizations have a role dedicated to cybersecurity expertise, and therefore appreciate its needs, the cybersecurity skills shortage continues. Gartner recommends that chief information security officers (CISOs) continue to build bench strength through innovative approaches to developing the security team’s capabilities.

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