Why the C-suite should focus on understanding cybersecurity and investing appropriately

Trend Micro has published a research revealing that persistently low IT/C-suite engagement may imperil investments and expose organizations to increased cyber risk. Over 90% of the IT and business decision makers surveyed expressed particular concern about ransomware attacks.

C-suite engagement

Despite widespread concern over spiralling threats, the study found that only 57% of responding IT teams discuss cyber risks with the C-suite at least weekly.

“Vulnerabilities used to go months or even years before being exploited after their discovery,” said Eva Chen, CEO of Trend Micro.

“Now it can be hours, or even sooner. More executives than ever understand that they have a responsibility to be informed, but they often feel overwhelmed by how rapidly the cybersecurity landscape evolves. IT leaders need to communicate with their board in such a way that they can understand where the organization’s risk is and how they can best manage it.”

Fortunately, current investment in cyber initiatives is not critically low. 42% of respondents claimed their organization is spending most on “cyber-attacks” to mitigate business risk. This was the most popular answer, above more typical projects like digital transformation (36%) and workforce transformation (27%). 49% said they have recently increased investments to mitigate the risks of ransomware attacks and security breaches.

However, low C-suite engagement combined with increased investment suggests a tendency to ‘throw money’ at the problem rather than develop an understanding of the cybersecurity challenges and invest appropriately. This approach may undermine more effective strategies and risk greater financial loss. 46% of respondents claimed concepts like “cyber risk” and “cyber risk management” were known extensively in their organization.

77% want to hold more people in the organization responsible for managing and mitigating these risks, which would help to drive an enterprise-wide culture of “security by design.” The largest group of respondents (38%) favored holding CEOs responsible. Other non-IT roles cited by respondents included CFOs (28%) and CMOs (22%).

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