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Only 24% of Indian Companies Ready to Defend Against Cybersecurity Threats: Cisco Study

Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index that was released at the Cisco India Summit 2023 points out grave flaws in the cybersecurity management of business organisations.

In an alarming find, a new Cisco has found that Only 24% of organizations in India have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks. Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index that was released at the Cisco India Summit 2023 in Jaipur points out grave flaws in the cybersecurity management of business organisations. The index has been developed against the backdrop of a post-COVID, hybrid world, where users and data must be secured wherever work gets done. The report highlights where businesses are doing well and where cybersecurity readiness gaps will widen if global business and security leaders don’t take action.

Organizations have moved from an operating model that was largely static – where people operated from single devices from one location, connecting to a static network – to a hybrid world in which they increasingly operate from multiple devices in multiple locations, connect to multiple networks, access applications in the cloud and on the go, and generate enormous amount of data. This presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges for companies.

The Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid World report measures the readiness of companies to maintain cybersecurity resilience against modern threats. These measures cover five core pillars that form the baseline of required defenses: identity, devices, network, application workloads, and data, and encompasses 19 different solutions within the pillars.

Conducted by an independent third-party, the double-blind survey asked 6,700 private sector cybersecurity leaders across 27 markets to indicate which of these solutions they had deployed and the stage of deployment. Companies were then classified into four stages of increasing readiness: Beginner, Formative, Progressive and Mature.

India scored high in the global chart in terms of maturity (24%), performing above the global average of 15% on cybersecurity readiness. About 38% of companies in India fall into the Beginner or Formative stages. While organizations in India are faring better than the global average, the number is still very low, given the risks.

This readiness gap is telling, not least because 90% of respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. The cost of being unprepared can be substantial as 80% of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 53% of those affected said it cost them at least US $500,000.

“Organizations have moved from an operating model that was largely static to a hybrid world, which presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges. In this environment, understanding how organizations are preparing to deal with these new challenges is critical. The Index has been built with a focus on five core pillars of identity, devices, network, applications, and data, and examines organizational postures in securing these,” said Vish Iyer, Vice President, Architectures, Cisco APJC.

“These five pillars need to be protected with a mix of point tools and integrated platforms to achieve security resilience while reducing complexity. Only then will businesses be able to close the cybersecurity readiness gap.”

Business leaders must establish a baseline of ‘readiness’ across the five security pillars to build secure and resilient organizations. This need is especially critical given that 95% of the respondents plan to increase their security budgets by at least 10 percent over the next 12 months. By establishing a base, organizations can build on their strengths and prioritize the areas where they need more maturity and improve their resilience.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses as they continue their digitization journey. With hybrid work becoming mainstay and services being application-driven, it is critical that organizations close the security readiness gap,” said Samir Mishra, Director, Security Business Group, Cisco India & SAARC.

“Assessing security readiness and ensuring that organizations adopt an integrated platform approach to secure the five key pillars will play an integral role in helping businesses futureproof themselves.”

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