86% of IT Execs Feel Prepared—but Only 40% Have a Response Plan

IT execs may “feel” as though they’re prepared for a cyber-attack—but yet, they’re not investing anything in responding to one.

This classic disconnect between perception and reality is a key finding in a study by Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), which found that a clear majority of CIOs, CISOs and VPs of IT– 86%—believe that they’re ready to fight back, even as 40% also say that they have no incident response (IR) plan in place.

Also, only 30% of those with IR plans test and update them more than once a month.

"With incident response more critical than ever, businesses need to ensure their IR processes are effective, consistent, and efficient—and it requires a daily commitment to assessment and improvement," said Troels Oerting, Barclays Group CISO, and ex-head of Europe’s Cyber Crime Unit (EC3), in a comment to media about the finding. "This study shows teams need to invest more in technology and platforms that help them manage IR better, every day.”

The problem is that the investment is not being made. In terms of security spending, there are three distinct buckets of investment for most companies: preparation, detection and IR. The first two are well represented in budgets, representing 77% of the earmarked funds for security. IR lags behind, at 39%.

Although this is an increase from just 23% just two years ago, it’s clear that more needs to be done, because as we know, incidents happen. The survey uncovered that 67% experienced a breach in the last year. And a full 100% have experienced a breach at some point in the past.

“Organizations are realizing that cyber breaches are inevitable—but focusing on improving response can ensure breaches are survivable,” said Duncan Brown, research director at PAC and lead author of the study. “We’re encouraged to see that organizations are investing more in the tools, processes, and people needed for effective and fast incident response.”

It’s not like the repercussions are small, either: Organizations typically require between one and six months to recover from a breach, the survey found—and the average direct costs of a data breach (not including internal staffing and loss of business and reputation) is €75,000.

“As the cyber-threat landscape becomes more challenging, businesses need enhanced response plans to ensure they’re able to survive and thrive in the face of these threats,” said Bruce Schneier, CTO at Resilient Systems, which sponsored the study. “For decades, companies have focused on preventing and detecting attacks, but they haven’t focused enough on incident response. This is critical to good security.”

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