C-SUITE

Survey: Cybersecurity becoming shared responsibility across C-suite

BY Marianne Wilson

Cybersecurity is now recognized as a key business driver by the C-suite.

That’s according to a survey by Radware, which found that security issues are causing companies to make a fundamental shift in thinking about the role of security in customer experience, marketing and business operations. Executives that participated in the 2019 C-Suite Perspectives: From Defense to Offense, Executives Turn Information Security Into a Competitive Advantage study found that the four main business impacts of a security incident were customer loss (45%), brand reputation loss (44%) and revenue loss or operational (32% each). The report surveyed 263 senior leaders from companies across the globe, including finance, retail/hospitality, telecom providers and others.

Companies still have a long way to go to protect themselves. A majority (70%) of senior executives surveyed in North America and Europe report their company experienced a cyberattack in the prior twelve months.

The predominance of cybersecurity as a business issue extends to the board, with 72% of executives reporting information security is an agenda item for every board meeting. Respondents estimated an average cost per attack of about $4.6M and the proportion of respondents estimating that the total cost of cyberattacks to their organization is more than $10 million nearly doubled in frequency from 2018 (7%) to 2019 (13%).

At the same time, customers want to understand what companies have done to secure their products and services. Three-quarters of executives report that security is a key part of their marketing messages, and 50% of companies surveyed offer dedicated security products and services to their customers.

Additionally, 41% offer security features as add-ons within their products and services, and another 7% are considering building security services into their products.

“This year’s C-Suite Perspectives report shines a spotlight on increased sophistication of management philosophy for information security and security strategy,” said Anna Convery-Pelletier, chief marketing officer at Radware. “While responsibility for cybersecurity continues to be spearheaded by the CIO and CISO, it is also being shared throughout the entire C-Suite. Security issues now influence brand reputation, brand trust and consumer trust, which forces organizations to make a fundamental shift in thinking about the role of security in customer experience, marketing and business operations.”

In other highlights from Radware’s 2019 C-Suite Perspectives:

The road to improved security isn’t always secure. As organizations ramp up their digital transformation efforts, which often include embracing the public cloud, 54% of respondents report improving information security is one of their top three reasons for initiating digital transformation processes. However, 73% of executives indicate they have had unauthorized access to their public cloud assets.

Data breaches are most common in Europe, despite GDPR regulations. 74% of European executives report they have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months, compared to 53% in America and 44% in APAC. Half (52%) of executives in Europe have experienced a self-reported incident under GDPR in the past year.

Bots continue to impact bottom-line business. Executives are discussing bots in their board management meetings. 53% say they’ve encountered reduced website revenue due to inventory hold-ups by bots, 51% report bots skewing marketing analytics, and 36% have talked about abuse of user accounts or payment information.

Investments in machine learning & AI are growing. The majority of respondents (82%) have shifted more budget into machine learning/AI over the past two years. This represents a continued focus on automation as just 71% said the same in 2018. Individual regions report allocating an average of 37% of their security budget toward AI security systems (Americas 49%, EMEA 30%, and APAC 31%).

Customers increasingly take action following a breach. Following a data breach, survey participants report an average churn of 30% of customers. They estimate the average investment to win a customer back at almost $100,000.

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