Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

11/12/2019
06:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

While CISOs Fret, Business Leaders Tout Security Robustness

A new Nominet survey shows a familiar disconnect between business and security teams on the matter of cyber preparedness.

Business leaders at many organizations are projecting a rosier picture of their cybersecurity posture than would appear warranted, a new survey shows.

Nominet recently surveyed nearly 300 senior security and IT practitioners, including CISOs, CIOs, and CTOs from the US and UK. The survey sought to assess the level of confidence among executives about their organizations' cybersecurity posture and readiness to deal with threats.

Seventy percent of the respondents said their organizations use its cybersecurity posture as a selling point to customers and business partners, even though CISOs and others responsible for cybersecurity were far less confident in the security stack.

Over one-third (34%) of the security executives in the Nominet survey, for instance, said they were only moderately satisfied with the effectiveness of their security controls, and another one-third said they were only somewhat or slightly confident. Most, in fact, scored their security stacks as 80% effective or less.

"The disconnect between CISO confidence and the business' willingness to use its cyber defense as a selling point was most surprising," says Stuart Reed, vice president of Nominet and the executive in charge of the company's research and data science group. This suggests a lack in communication or understanding of risk between security teams and the wider business, he says.

The survey shows many CISOs and other security executives are being put in compromising situations by business executives, who have a less-than-complete understanding of their challenges, Nominet concluded.

While it is natural a CISO might be slightly more cautious about claiming the effectiveness of the controls in place, the fact that more than one-third of security leaders are not even moderately confident is a worry, Reed says. "This disconnect in cyber confidence should act as an alarm bell to organizations and potentially prompt some investigation and analysis," he says.

One reason why CISOs and others feel less than fully confident in their security controls is likely because purchase decisions are not entirely in their hands. In many cases, the final word on a security purchase rests with a combination of business stakeholders and not necessarily security leaders. While security is obviously a factor, purchase decisions are based on other consideration as well, including cost, available alternatives, and ease of integration, Reed says.

"We need to begin looking at what will make our CISOs more confident," he says. Radware's survey shows, for example, that 20% of CISOs either don't test the performance of their security stacks once in place or don't know whether they have been tested. "Perhaps more investment here could increase confidence," Reed says.

Nominet's survey shows CISOs and other security leaders in the US are generally much more upbeat than their counterparts in the UK when it comes to the effectiveness of their security controls. Culture is likely a factor, according to the company, but the bigger reason is a majority of the US organizations represented in the survey are big companies with typically tighter procurement processes.

The vendor discovered a majority of organizations (68%) that had experienced a security breach over the previous 12 months to be somewhat apprehensive about their ability to defend and recover from a second one. Here again, US-based security leaders appear more bullish than their UK counterparts.

"This could be explained by the cultural and contextual differences between the US and UK," Reed says. "What might reassure a CISO in the US won't necessarily have the same effect in the UK." The key to keep in mind is that confidence isn't necessarily always connected to how well equipped a company is to defend against an attack.

"It is critical that security professionals and the wider business are on the same page when it comes to cyber defense," Reed notes.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "Account Fraud Harder to Detect as Criminals Move from Bots to 'Sweat Shops'."

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
Architectural Analysis IDs 78 Specific Risks in Machine-Learning Systems
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  2/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-1842
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
Huawei HEGE-560 version 1.0.1.20(SP2); OSCA-550 and OSCA-550A version 1.0.0.71(SP1); and OSCA-550AX and OSCA-550X version 1.0.0.71(SP2) have an insufficient authentication vulnerability. An attacker can access the device physically and perform specific operations to exploit this vulnerability. Succe...
CVE-2020-8010
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
CA Unified Infrastructure Management (Nimsoft/UIM) 9.20 and below contains an improper ACL handling vulnerability in the robot (controller) component. A remote attacker can execute commands, read from, or write to the target system.
CVE-2020-8011
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
CA Unified Infrastructure Management (Nimsoft/UIM) 9.20 and below contains a null pointer dereference vulnerability in the robot (controller) component. A remote attacker can crash the Controller service.
CVE-2020-8012
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
CA Unified Infrastructure Management (Nimsoft/UIM) 9.20 and below contains a buffer overflow vulnerability in the robot (controller) component. A remote attacker can execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2020-1791
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
HUAWEI Mate 20 smartphones with versions earlier than 10.0.0.185(C00E74R3P8) have an improper authorization vulnerability. The system has a logic judging error under certain scenario, successful exploit could allow the attacker to switch to third desktop after a series of operation in ADB mode.