How Self-Assessment Can Help You Avoid a Data Breach

Each new data breach that makes headlines causes companies to grow more and more concerned about cybersecurity. In response, businesses are upping their investments in cybersecurity with the hopes of shielding their systems from cybercriminals, protecting their data and keeping their names out of the news.

The Challenge of Cybersecurity

For many organizations, this effort starts with security assessments that involve rationalizing current security investments and prioritizing new investments to secure their businesses. Companies today invest considerable resources in many different security solutions, but often struggle to have a clear idea of what would constitute their ideal security approach. Chief information security officers (CISOs) may be left wondering which areas to prioritize and how their cybersecurity measures compare to those of their peers.

And it’s hard to blame them. CISOs must secure modern enterprise networks and multi-cloud-based infrastructures, protect against targeted threats aimed toward mobile devices and endpoints, guard critical business data and more — all while ensuring employees and end users can access the applications and services they need to run their businesses securely and efficiently. With over 500 cybersecurity vendors out there, the landscape of solutions is complex and often noisy.

Stakes Are High for CISOs

What happens if CISOs don’t get it right? Wasted resources represent the best-case scenario: CISOs may overinvest in some areas of cybersecurity (often indicated by too many tools and insufficient skill) while leaving their blind spots vulnerable. At worst, the company’s name ends up in the next breach headline. Substantial financial penalties can follow: The global average cost of a data breach is a staggering $3.86 million.

So, the stakes are high. Not only will a breach compromise a company’s brand and reputation, but it can jeopardize its viability as well.

Accurate Self-Assessment Is Key

But there is some good news: There are resources available to help CISOs assess the maturity of their cybersecurity posture so they can get a better picture of where they stand and where to focus.

One such assessment tool, designed by IBM and underpinned by in-depth client engagements, helps companies assess their own readiness for a digital transformation. A user can complete the free assessment in about 15 minutes, and then use the findings to identify their strengths and weaknesses across 10 essential security dimensions, benchmark their results against industry peers and get helpful information tailored to the areas in which they have the highest need for improvement. The industry peer benchmark lets CISOs know exactly how they stack up against their peers.

With a clearer idea of how their overall security systems are performing relative to their industries, companies can avoid a data breach, allowing them to steer through the complexity and noise — and focus on making the headlines with good news. Try this self-assessment and take advantage of the available insights from the in-depth IBM Security client engagements worldwide.

Complete the self-assessment now

Ravi Srinivasan

Director, Strategy and Product Management

Ravi directs the IBM identity, access and cloud security strategy and product management based in Austin, Texas. He has...