Are companies in India ready against cyber threats?

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New Delhi: With an enormous focus on digitisation and digital transformation in recent years, are companies in India ready against cybersecurity threats?

A majority of companies in India aren’t ready and resilient against cybersecurity risks reveals a new Cisco report released on Tuesday. Only 24% of companies in India have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks, according to Cisco’s maiden Cybersecurity Readiness Index.

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.

Organisations have moved from a largely static operating model – where people operated from single devices from one location, connecting to a static network – to a hybrid world.

In a hybrid world, they increasingly operate from multiple devices in multiple locations, connect to different networks, access applications in the cloud and on the go, and generate an enormous amount of data. This presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges for companies.

Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid World

Titled, Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid World, the report 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 encompass 19 different solutions within the pillars.

The independent third-party conducted 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 the 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%), performing above the global average of 15% on cybersecurity readiness. About 38% of companies in India fall into the Beginner or Formative stages. While companies 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% 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% of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 53% of those affected said it cost them at least $500,000.

“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,” said Vish Iyer, VP of Architectures, Cisco APJC.

The Index focuses on five core pillars of identity, devices, network, applications, and data, and examines organisational postures in securing them.

“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,” added Iyer.

Business leaders must establish a baseline of ‘readiness’ across the five security pillars to build secure and resilient organisations. As many as 95% of the respondents plan to increase their security budgets by at least 10% over the next 12 months, the report states.

“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 organizations close the security readiness gap,” said Samir Mishra, Director of Security Business Group, Cisco India and SAARC.

“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,” added Mishra.

Other key findings of the index include:

Readiness across the five key pillars
• Identity: Only 35% of organisations are ranked Mature
• Devices: This has the highest percentage of companies in the Mature stage at 39%
• Network Security: Companies are lagging on this front with 26% of organisations in the Beginner or Formative stages
• Application Workloads: This is the pillar where companies are the least prepared, with 51% of organisations in the Beginner or Formative stages
• Data: 31% of companies are in the Mature stage

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