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76% of execs losing sleep over being the next high-profile breach

76% of business leaders are losing sleep over the prospect of becoming the next high-profile security breach, despite a vast majority also believing that their security team is ‘consistently ahead of cybersecurity threats’.

That’s according to a new joint report from Forcepoint and WSJ Intelligence, which features research on the cybersecurity priorities of business executives from around the world, as well as growing disparities in how CEOs and CISOs view the most effective cybersecurity path forward. 

The survey featured in the report, which quizzed 200 CEOs and CISOs, highlights the most significant stressors for business leaders when it comes to their security profile in a climate where any organisation can fall victim to a potentially catastrophic breach. 

Key findings in the report

89% of respondents believe that senior leadership is cyber-aware and data-literate, while 93% believe that they are also focused on cybersecurity as a ‘top priority’.

Respondents have largely acknowledged the inflating shadow cast by cyber threats, with 85% of respondents citing security strategies as a major driver for digital transformation. However, a comparatively lower 66% recognise the increased organisational exposure to cyber threats because of digitisation.

Perhaps alarmingly, the report found that only 46% of leaders regularly review their cybersecurity strategies.

“When more than 89% of leaders believe their teams are more cyber-aware than ever, it’s not surprising to hear executives are losing sleep over their cybersecurity posture today because they know the stakes to their business are so high,” says Forcepoint global chief technology officer Nicolas Fischbach. 

“At a time when cybersecurity is more strategic to business growth than ever before, it is time senior business and security leaders reassess their cybersecurity strategy to one that enables them to move left of breach. 

“Leader companies understand that behaviour-based technologies are the modern cybersecurity path forward and those that get cybersecurity right today will see this be a key competitive differentiator for their business in the years ahead.”

Disparities emerge between different executives

Protecting customer data is a resounding priority for leaders in the US (62%) and Europe (64%), whereas in Asia 61% of leaders will prioritise protecting organisational IP over customer data. 

Differing approaches to regulation, privacy and legislation are the primary factors influencing these results, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the report also found that CEOs and CISOs have distinctly different approaches to pinpointing an organisation’s path forward in terms of cybersecurity.

CEOs prefer to be proactive and risk-focused (58%), prioritising maintenance of business stability above all. 

More than half (54%) of CISOs, on the other hand, prefer a more reactive and incident-driven approach to taking on the threats facing a business. 

The research also found that, despite claiming vendor fatigue, enterprises use more than 50 security vendors on average with 62% reporting they want even more. 

“Companies leading on the cybersecurity front today are realistic about the risks they face and are prepared to prioritise security to protect the lifeblood of their business – which is customer data and organisational IP,” continues Fischbach.

“And with today’s new way of working, getting this right within a remote work reality has never been more critical. 

“Now is the time for all business and security leaders to recognise the business continuity actions they take now will determine whether they simply survive or thrive in today’s new business reality.”

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