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ESG Study: 2/3 Of Critical Infrastructure Orgs Suffer Cyber Breaches

Research focused specifically on cyber supply-chain policies, processes, and technical safeguards
MILFORD, Mass. -- The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a leading IT industry analyst and consulting organization, today announced the availability of a new research report titled, Assessing Cyber Supply Chain Security Vulnerabilities Within the U.S. Critical Infrastructure. The report is based upon data gathered from a survey of 285 security professionals working at organizations that operate in the 18 industries designated as "critical infrastructure" by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The report, co-sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and other leading IT vendors, found that:

Sixty-eight percent of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed have experienced at least one security breach in the past 24 months, and 13% suffered more than three security breaches in the past 24 months.

Twenty percent of respondents working at critical infrastructure organizations rated the effectiveness of their organization's security policies, procedures, and technology safeguards as either "fair" or "poor."

Seventy-one percent of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed believe that the security threat landscape will grow worse in the next 24-36 months--26% believe it will be "much worse."

The research also focused specifically on the cyber supply chain policies, processes, and technical safeguards used by critical infrastructure organizations. The ESG report uncovered that only a small subset of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed employ cyber supply chain security best practices--therefore many of these firms face an increased risk of a cyber supply chain attack that could impact business operations and service delivery to the public.

"This report highlights that many critical infrastructure organizations can immediately benefit by adopting basic cyber security and supply chain security best practices" said Jon Oltsik, Principal Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group and author of this research report. "Most of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed are not doing adequate security due diligence on the IT vendors that provide them with products and services. They haven't instituted secure software development lifecycles across their enterprises and they don't have a set of security requirements for third-party business partners with whom they share IT systems. These weaknesses create a real vulnerability and need to be addressed as soon as possible."

Survey respondents were also asked for their input on the cybersecurity role of the U.S. Federal Government. A vast majority (71%) of respondents believe that the Federal Government should be more active with cybersecurity strategies and defenses--31% believe that the government should be significantly more active. Respondents suggested that the Federal Government should engage in actions like doing a better job of sharing security information and providing incentives like tax credits to organizations that invest in cybersecurity.

Oltsik commented, "The report clearly indicates that critical infrastructure organizations are vulnerable to attacks and expect help from the Federal Government. I can only hope that this report encourages greater public/private dialogue on cybersecurity and accelerates Federal Government action."

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