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Small Security Teams Have Big Security Fears, CISOs Report

Researchers poll security leaders who are tasked with protecting large organizations but have a small presence and budget.

CISOs who lead small security teams at large organizations feel more vulnerable to cyberattacks compared with businesses that have more security staff, larger tool sets, and higher budgets.

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To learn more about the reality for small security teams, Cynet researchers surveyed 200 CISOs at midsize to large organizations with between 500 and 10,000 employees. All CISOs had five or fewer people on their team, and 70% report less than $1 million in annual budget. 

Even though larger enterprises are considered more attractive targets for cybercriminals, 63% of CISOs with small teams say their risk of attack is higher compared with much larger, more well-resourced organizations. Slightly less (57%) admit their ability to defend their company is "overtly lower" than they'd like it to be, and 47% say their top challenge is a lack of adequate skills and experience to defend against cyberattacks.

"With less people power, and less budget to play with, we quickly saw that security teams are forced to cut corners," according to the "2021 Survey of CISOs with Small Cyber Security Teams."

Nearly 80% of companies take more than four months to get up to speed deploying, and becoming proficient in, top security tools. More than 60% say they'd be able to accelerate threat detection and response if they could effectively consolidate security tools and processes, and 48% say they could have avoided some security incidents in 2020 if they had a bigger team. 

For many small teams, outsourcing has become the answer. Respondents were almost equally split between those who outsource to a managed detection and response service (53%) and those who use a managed security service provider (47%).

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