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CISO Survey: Concerns Running High Over Digital Threats, Staff Shortage

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Nearly 90 percent of all information security leaders are concerned about the rise of digital threats they are experiencing across web, social and mobile channels.

That’s according to a new survey by RiskIQ. The cybersecurity company polled nearly 1,700 U.S. and U.K. chief information security officers (CISOs) across multiple verticals, including enterprise, consulting, government and education, providing insights into their cyber-risk concerns and plans for 2018.

RiskIQ's Brandon Dixon

RiskIQ’s Brandon Dixon

Brandon Dixon, RiskIQ’s vice president of product, tells Channel Partners the biggest challenge facing organizations is being able to look at their digital presence outside the firewall to get “insight into how attackers can see them while performing reconnaissance before executing their campaigns.”

“However, there is an opportunity here — a platform approach to digital-threat management is a force multiplier that closes the cybersecurity skills gap and lets organizations, even with small teams, take on digital threat actors,” he said. “Digital threat platforms that combine advanced internet data reconnaissance and analytics to expedite investigations, understand digital attack surfaces, assess risk and take action give businesses the chance to thrive in digital channels despite the uptick in threats.”

The survey points to an approaching “perfect storm” where staff shortages collide with escalating cybercrime, leaving organizations ill-equipped to manage and respond to accelerating cyber risks and threats, according to RiskIQ.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of cybersecurity leaders do not have sufficient staff to handle the daily barrage of cyber alerts they receive, and three in five (60 percent) expect digital threats to grow as their organizations increase online engagement with customers, according to the survey.

The top three digital threats information security leaders fear are: phishing and malware attacks on employees and customers; brand impersonation, abuse and reputational damage; and information breaches.

“Digital threats have been a major issue facing businesses for awhile now, but it’s refreshing – and a bit surprising – to see so many security leaders acknowledging the problem and looking for a solution,” Dixon said. “Threat actors no longer have to breach the firewall to rob an enterprise, and the survey confirms this. They can leverage the digital presence of an organization, including its brand name, domains and web properties, product names, executives’ social presence, and mobile apps to target the organization’s digital infrastructure, their customers and employees.”

The top risk organizations face today is a lack of experienced staff to monitor and help protect networks from cybercrime, according to the survey.

“That’s one reason [that] one in three organizations have engaged with an MSSP to combat cyber risks and threats, and we expect that number to grow as the competition for top security talent gets far more intense,” said Lou Manousos, RiskIQ’s CEO.


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