While much of what happens in a modern business depends on how data moves back and forth across the corporate network, concern about network security has risen by 71 percent in the past year, according to a recent survey of chief information officers (CIOs). Despite this growing awareness, however, only 22 percent of respondents said they felt prepared for a cyberattack.

The report showed that the role of IT leaders, which includes everything from selecting hardware and software applications to digitizing business processes, is more difficult than ever thanks to the ever-expanding list of cybersecurity risk management challenges. In fact, 78 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) described the systems they use for cybersecurity risk management as only “moderately effective.”

Cybersecurity Risk Management Lags Despite Growing Concern

The findings of the “KPMG/Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2018” reflect how security leaders’ perception of data protection has changed given the evolution of cybercrime from random acts of information theft to sophisticated malware, ransomware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. For instance, 77 percent of survey respondents cited the threat of organized cybercrime as their greatest concern.

The survey results revealed a disconnect between the number of CIOs who are worried about their ability to defend corporate networks against malicious third parties and insider threats and the number of security leaders who are taking meaningful action. While 23 percent of respondents said they have increased their emphasis on security since 2017, the number of CIOs who cited managing risk and compliance as an area of focus rose by only 12 percent.

The Skills Gap and GDPR Create New Risk Management Challenges

The report suggested that the cybersecurity skills shortage might be contributing to this disconnect. The dearth of security and resilience skills, for instance, increased by 25 percent year-over-year. The good news, according to the report, is that cybersecurity risk management is quickly becoming a top priority for board directors.

It’s also worth noting that the report’s authors conducted their research as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was about to take effect. Despite all the cybersecurity risk management requirements included in the regulation, 38 percent of survey respondents admitted that they would not be ready for the since-passed deadline.

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