90% of ITDMs say organisations trade-off on cybersecurity

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Hong Kong: 90% of ITDMs (IT Decision Markers) think their organisations actually trade-off on cybersecurity in favour of other goals, as per a new study.

Trend Micro’s new commissioned research revealed a staggering 90% of ITDMs claim their business would be willing to compromise on cybersecurity in favour of digital transformation, productivity, or other goals.

Moreover, fewer than 90% of ITDMs have felt pressured to downplay the severity of cyber risks to their boards.

“IT leaders are self-censoring in front of their boards for fear of appearing repetitive or too negative, with almost a third claiming this is a constant pressure. But this will only perpetuate a vicious cycle where the C-suite remains ignorant of its true risk exposure,” said Bharat Mistry, UK Technical Director – Trend Micro.

“We need to talk about risk in a way that frames cybersecurity as a fundamental driver of business growth – helping to bring together IT and business leaders who, in reality, are both fighting for the same cause,” added Mistry.

“IT decision makers should never have to downplay the severity of cyber risks to the Board. But they may need to modify their language so both sides understand each other,” said Phil Gough, Head of Information Security and Assurance – Nuffield Health.

“That’s the first step to aligning business-cybersecurity strategy, and it’s a crucial one. Articulating cyber risks in business terms will get them the attention they deserve, and help the C-suite to recognise security as a growth enabler, not a block on innovation,” added Gough.

The research revealed that just 50% of IT leaders and 38% of business decision-makers believe the C-suite completely understand cyber risks. Although some think this is because the topic is complex and constantly changing, many believe the C-suite either doesn’t try hard enough (26%) or doesn’t want (20%) to understand.

There’s also disagreement between IT and business leaders over who’s ultimately responsible for managing and mitigating risk. IT leaders are nearly twice as likely as business leaders to point to IT teams and the CISO.

49% of respondents claim that cyber risks are still being treated as an IT problem rather than a business risk.

This friction is causing potentially serious issues: 52% of respondents agree that their organisation’s attitude to cyber risk is inconsistent and varies from month to month.

However, 31% of respondents believe cybersecurity is the biggest business risk today, and 66% claim it has the highest cost impact of any business risk – a seemingly conflicting opinion given the overall willingness to compromise on security.

Trend Micro commissioned Sapio Research to interview 5321 IT and business decision-makers from enterprises larger than 250 employees across 26 countries​.

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