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Cybersecurity key to business advantage, report finds

By Catherine Knowles, 14 May 2021

CEOs and CISOs are doubling down on cybersecurity and converged approaches, according to a new WSJ Intelligence and Forcepoint Survey.

The research, titled The C-Suite Report: Business and Security Strategies for Today’s Unbound Enterprise, reveals that enterprise leaders who previously viewed cybersecurity as part of traditional infrastructure have shifted to rapidly invest in integrated, cloud-based approaches.

This is having ripple effects on innovation, distributed workforce security and competitive advantages.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the 'unbound enterprise' began to emerge, with operations freed from physical or network infrastructures, the researchers state.

The pandemic accelerated this trend, and while some changes made in 2020 were tactical, the significant shift in perception will have far-reaching consequences.

Leaders now see cybersecurity as the key to business advantage with 45% stating they have greatly accelerated digital transformation as a result of the pandemic, 48% reporting cybersecurity’s bigger role in enabling innovation and 41% agreeing that it delivers a competitive edge.

SASE is the new de facto standard for cyber, the research finds.

The research revealed clear indications of how decentralised organisations will develop, with 48% substantially increasing the use of cloud-based cybersecurity systems and 58% recognising the need for a more integrated trust framework.

Furthermore, 90% of CEOs have either already adopted SASE (43%) or are currently evaluating SASE with a view to adopt (47%) while 39% have accelerated their adoption of zero trust architectures.

Converged, cloud-driven approaches will offer huge advantages as remote workers will have even more autonomy to innovate and drive business, but it also means that leaders must find new ways to secure distributed workforces and cloud applications, and drive collaboration and creativity, the researchers state.

Wall Street Journal Intelligence executive director of global consumer insights, Elizabeth Nann, says, “As enterprises operate their business in a world with seemingly endless options, cybersecurity professionals will need to evolve their roles.

"The research showed that CISOs adapted existing strategy, while the pandemic has really opened the eyes and changed the views of CEOs.

"This suggests that teams now better understand the importance of an integrated security framework with the agility to adapt to a continuously evolving environment - but not everyone has that in place yet.”

Forcepoint global CTO and vice president of SASE engineering Nicolas Fischbach says, “Industry leaders are emphatically pointing to a very different future for cybersecurity.

"When 90% of leaders believe the biggest challenge is securing anywhere workers and cloud services, it’s clear that infrastructure- or access-oriented security tools can no longer keep up with the needs of today’s unbound enterprise.”

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