December 14, 2017 By Mark Samuels 2 min read

No one can deny that information security made headlines this year, but those high-profile attacks don’t tell the whole story. According to recent research by Gartner, the major attacks and data breaches that enterprises experienced throughout 2017 are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cybersecurity news.

Examining Cybersecurity News

The firm’s research director, Jeff Wheatman told TechRepublic that the next five to 10 years will see a new range of threats to corporate organizations. In fact, Gartner predicted that by 2021 an enterprise will suffer a business outage due to malware and ransomware that results in $1 billion in lost revenue.

Enterprises must consider how the dependencies that come with partnering with in an ever-growing pool of providers will affect their own cybersecurity. To avoid becoming the next piece of cybersecurity news, IT leaders must assess the security posture of their third-party providers.

Beware of the Ripple Effect

Digital transformation has led to a major shift in enterprise technology ecosystems. The posture of partner organizations becomes increasingly important as the ecosystem expands.

Wheatman noted that key partners are often connected to hundreds of other suppliers. While IT leaders will likely have no direct interaction with many of these companies, the security approach of these disparate organizations could have a huge impact on blue-chip businesses.

CIOs must understand the security posture of all potential partners as a matter of urgency. Gartner noted that major enterprises have been affected by attacks and breaches against their partners and by providers that work with their third-party vendors. This interconnectedness can create a ripple effect that could put major enterprises at risk.

Assessing the Security Posture of Partners

As more enterprises store data in the cloud, CIOs must be sure to understand the security posture of interconnected providers. According to Wheatman, Gartner has seen an increase in spending on security rating services. These services gather data and then run algorithms to assess enterprise cybersecurity, much like a credit rating is applied to a consumer. Investing in these services allows security leaders to understand the risk associated to partners operating within their extended ecosystems.

Making Smart Investments

The good news is that Gartner recently forecast that global security spending will total $96.3 billion next year, an 8 percent increase from 2017. Enterprises are spending more due to regulation concerns, emerging threats and evolution in digital business strategies.

IT decision-makers must clearly explain the risk of cybersecurity threats to senior stakeholders. They need to demonstrate how investing in information security reduces risk, improves governance and creates higher profits — and underscore that these practices need to be present in third parties as well.

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