Cisco Study Identifies Key Success Factors That Boost Security Resilience

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Cisco has released the latest in its annual cybersecurity study, Security Outcomes Report, Volume 3: Achieving Security Resilience. Consisting of survey responses from over 4,700 participants across 26 countries, the report identifies the top seven success factors that boost enterprise security resilience from the bottom to the top 10 percent of all organizations analyzed.

Last year’s study focused on the architectures, technologies, and operational strategies that lead to more resilient businesses. Findings included benefits in proactively updating and integrating security technologies, leveraging cloud-based architectures, and investing in business continuity. This year’s report picks up with a focus on the cultural, environmental, and solution-based factors that businesses leverage to achieve security resilience.

Why Security Resilience Is Important

A staggering 62 percent of organisations surveyed had experienced a security event that impacted business. The leading types of incidents were network or data breaches (51.5 percent), network or system outages (51.1 percent), ransomware events (46.7 percent) and distributed denial of service attacks (46.4 percent).

These incidents resulted in severe repercussions for the companies experiencing them, along with the ecosystem of organisations they do business with. The leading impacts cited include information technology and communications interruption (62.6 percent), supply chain disruption (43 percent), impaired internal operations (41.4 percent) and lasting brand damage (39.7 percent).

With stakes this high, it is no surprise that the main objectives of security resilience for security leaders and their teams are to prevent incidents and mitigate losses when they occur.

Seven Success Factors of Security Resilience

The report develops a methodology to generate a security resilience score for the organisations surveyed and identified seven data-backed success factors that, if lacking placed organisations in the bottom 10th percentile of performers, and if present boosted the organisations into the top 90th percentile of resilient businesses.

Security is a human endeavor as leadership, company culture and resourcing have an oversized impact on resilience:

  • Organisations that report poor security support from the C-suite scored 39 percent lower than those with strong executive support.
  • Businesses that cultivate an excellent security culture scored 46 percent higher on average than those without.
  • Companies that maintain extra internal staffing and resources to respond to incidents resulted in a 15 percent boost in resilient outcomes.

Businesses need to take care to reduce complexity when transitioning from on-premise to fully cloud-based environments:

  • Companies whose technology infrastructures are either mostly on-premise or mostly cloud-based had the highest, and nearly identical, security resilience scores. However, businesses that are in the initial stages of transitioning from an on-premise to a hybrid cloud environment saw scores drop between 8.5 and 14 percent depending on how difficult the hybrid environments were to manage.

Adopting and maturing advanced security solutions saw significant impacts to resilient outcomes:

  • Companies that reported implementing a mature zero trust model saw a 30 percent increase in resilience score compared to those that had none.
  • Advanced extended detection and response capabilities correlated to an incredible 45 percent increase over organizations that report having no detection and response solutions.
  • Converging networking and security into a mature, cloud-delivered secure access services edge boosted security resilience scores by 27 percent.

“The Security Outcomes Reports are a study into what works and what doesn’t in cybersecurity. The ultimate goal is to cut through the noise in the market by identifying practices that lead to more secure outcomes for defenders,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco. “This year we focused on identifying the key factors that elevate the security resilience of a business to among the very best in the industry.”

Staff writer

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