IT Security Leaders Are Held Most Responsible For Cyberattacks, Yet Lack the Influence Required to Shore Up Security Strategies

    Joanne Wong, Vice President, International Markets, LogRhythm

    LogRhythm, the company powering today’s security operations centres (SOCs), today released its latest report, “Security and the C-Suite: Making Security Priorities Business Priorities.” The research, which focuses on the roles and responsibilities of cybersecurity leaders, found that more than half of organisations (55%) in Asia Pacific (APAC)  have experienced a cyberattack in the last two years and spend an average of  US$17 million each on security activities. Of these organisations, 43 percent of respondents believe that IT security leaders should be held most accountable for preventing or mitigating the consequence of a cyberattack, compared to the CEO (18%) or both the CEO and IT security leader (22%).

     Security Leaders Shoulder More Responsibility and Risk

    Cybersecurity leaders in APAC assume greater accountability and risk for ensuring a strong security posture in the past year (61%), compared with the global average (56%). Specifically, cybersecurity leaders in this region believe that they must contend with risks like phishing and social engineering attacks (61%), ransomware (59%) and device vulnerabilities (58%).

    At the same time, while 60 percent of respondents believe that cybersecurity leaders should report directly to the CEO, only six percent of security leaders in APAC actually do. On average, they are three levels away from the CEO, which poses challenges in ensuring that the leadership have an accurate and complete understanding of security risks facing the organisation.

    Without securing buy-in from their senior leadership, cybersecurity leaders struggle to establish authority and establish their desired security posture. In fact, only 37 percent of respondents in the region agree that their organisation values and effectively leverages the expertise of their cybersecurity, compared to 43 percent globally.  This lack of understanding from senior leadership (52%) and executive support (51%)  have subsequently been identified as key factors leading to concerns around job security.

    New Security Pitfalls Stem from the COVID-19 Pandemic

     This comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about novel security challenges for cybersecurity leaders. This is especially salient in APAC, with 69 percent of respondents, the highest globally, indicating that their biggest security challenge today is securing the remote workforce.

    Across the region, close to 70 percent of organisations have more than a quarter of their employees and contractors working remotely. This poses new threats and increases the risk to their sensitive data, with respondents attributing this to:

    • Employees using less secure home networks (71%)
    • Family members being allowed to use the work device (65%)
    • Security protocols not being followed closely (63%)

    The Need to Make Security Priorities Business Priorities

    The research also revealed that even amid the rising threat of cyberattacks, only 29 percent of cybersecurity leaders in the region report to the board of directors to brief them on cybersecurity risks. Furthermore,  only 43 percent of them do so reactively after a security incident occurs. 76 percent of organisations also do not have a board-level committee dedicated to cybersecurity threats and issues facing the organisation.

    “In today’s fast-evolving cyber threatscape, security leaders are assuming more responsibility and bearing more risks. However, without organisational visibility and a direct line of contact with their CEO and board of directors, they lack the influence to implement a holistic and mature security program,” said Joanne Wong, Vice President, International Markets, LogRhythm. “It is crucial that organisations recognise the need to adopt cybersecurity priorities as a central plank in their business strategy, and empower their cybersecurity leaders and team with the support and resources they need to safeguard their business effectively.”

    The study was conducted in conjunction with Ponemon Institute, and featured 1,426 global respondents, including chief information, technology and security executives. Respondents were located in APAC, EMEA and the United States.

    For more information, you may download the full report here, Security and the C-Suite: Making Security Priorities Business Priorities.