A mere 9% of organizations in Canada have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks, according to Cisco’s NASDAQ: CSCO first-ever Cybersecurity Readiness Index released today. The index has been developed against the backdrop of a post-COVID, hybrid world, where users and data must be secured wherever work gets done. The report highlights where businesses are doing well and where cybersecurity readiness gaps will widen if global business and security leaders don’t take action.

Organizations have moved from an operating model that was largely static – where people operated from single devices from one location, connecting to a static network – to a hybrid world in which they increasingly operate from multiple devices in multiple locations, connect to multiple networks, access applications in the cloud and on the go, and generate enormous amount of data. This presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges for companies.

Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid WorldThe Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid World measures the readiness of companies to maintain cybersecurity resilience against modern threats. These measures cover five core pillars that form the baseline of required defences: identity, devices, network, application workloads, and data, and encompasses 19 different solutions within the pillars.

Conducted by an independent third-party, the double-blind survey asked 6,700 private sector cybersecurity leaders across 27 markets to indicate which of these solutions they had deployed and the stage of deployment. Companies were then classified into four stages of increasing readiness: Beginner, Formative, Progressive and Mature.

FindingsAlongside the stark finding that only 9% of Canadian organizations are at the Mature stage, 57% of organizations fall into the Beginner (9%) or Formative (48%) stages – meaning that their cybersecurity readiness is below average. Only 15% of companies globally are at a Mature stage.

This readiness gap is telling, not least because 77% of respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. The cost of being unprepared can be substantial, as 51% of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months and 34% of those affected said it cost them at least US $500,000.

“The move to a hybrid world has fundamentally changed the landscape for companies and created even greater cybersecurity complexity. Organizations must stop approaching defence with a mix of point tools and instead, consider integrated platforms to achieve security resilience while reducing complexity,” said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. “Only then will businesses be able to close the cybersecurity readiness gap.”

Business leaders must establish a baseline of ‘readiness’ across the five security pillars to build secure and resilient organizations. This need is especially critical given that 78% of the respondents plan to increase their security budgets by at least 10% over the next 12 months. By establishing a base, organizations can build on their strengths and prioritize the areas where they need more maturity and improve their resilience.

“Canadian organizations are falling behind their global peers on cybersecurity readiness, leaving them vulnerable to threats that continue to grow and evolve,” said Robert Barton, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Canada. “The gap is only going to widen if Canadian businesses don’t act quickly. Organizations need to take significant and meaningful steps to increase their cybersecurity readiness and improve their resilience against the emerging threat landscape.”

Readiness across the five key pillars

  • Identity: Progress is needed here as only 15% of organizations are ranked Mature
  • Devices: This has the highest percentage of companies in the Mature stage at 33%
  • Network Security: Companies are lagging on this front with 64% of organizations in the Beginner or Formative stages  
  • Application Workloads: This is the pillar where companies are the least prepared, with 73% of organizations in the Beginner or Formative stages  
  • Data: This has the second-highest number of companies in the Mature stage (17%)

Additional Resources:

  • Report: https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/products/security/cybersecurity-reports/cybersecurity-readiness-index/2023/cybersecurity-readiness-index-report.pdf
  • Microsite: https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/products/security/cybersecurity-reports/cybersecurity-readiness-index.html

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CiscoBriar Wellsbriarwell@cisco.com 

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