According to Cisco’s first-ever Cybersecurity Readiness Index, only 24 per cent of organisations in India have the ‘ mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks. 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 do not take action.
Organisations 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.
The report, titled ”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.
- Beginner (Overall score of less than 10): At initial stages of deployment of solutions
- Formative (Score of between 11 – 44): Have some level of deployment, but performing below average on cybersecurity readiness
- Progressive (Score of between 45 – 75): Considerable level of deployment and performing above average on cybersecurity readiness
- Mature (Score of 76 and higher): Have achieved advanced stages of deployment and are most ready to address security risks
India scored high in the global chart in terms of maturity (24 per cent), performing above the global average of 15 per cent on cybersecurity readiness. About 38 per cent of companies in India fall into the beginner or formative stages. While organisations in India are faring better than the global average, the number is still very low, given the risks.
This readiness gap is telling, not least because 90 per cent 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 80 per cent of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 53 per cent of those affected said it cost them at least $500,000.
Commenting on the report, Vish Iyer, vice president, Architectures, Cisco APJC, said ,“Organisations have moved from an operating model that was largely static to a hybrid world, which presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges. In this environment, understanding how organisations are preparing to deal with these new challenges is critical. The Index has been built with a focus on five core pillars of identity, devices, network, applications, and data, and examines organisational postures in securing these. These five pillars need to be protected with a mix of point tools and integrated platforms to achieve security resilience while reducing complexity. 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 organisations. This need is especially critical given that 95 per cent of the respondents plan to increase their security budgets by at least 10 per cent over the next 12 months. By establishing a base, organisations can build on their strengths and prioritise the areas where they need more maturity and improve their resilience.
Meanwhile, Samir Mishra, director, Security Business Group, Cisco India and SAARC said,“Cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses as they continue their digitisation journey. With hybrid work becoming mainstay and services being application-driven, it is critical that organisations close the security readiness gap. Assessing security readiness and ensuring that organisations adopt an integrated platform approach to secure the five key pillars will play an integral role in helping businesses futureproof themselves.”
Other key findings of the index include:
Readiness across the five key pillars
- Identity: Only 35 per cent of organisations are ranked mature
- Devices: This has the highest percentage of companies in the Mature stage at 39 per cent
- Network Security: Companies are lagging on this front with 26 per cent of organisations in the beginner or formative stages
- Application workloads: This is the pillar where companies are the least prepared, with 51 per cent of organisations in the beginner or formative stages
- Data: 31 per cent of companies are in the mature stage