Saudi Arabian organisations (95 percent) have experienced a business-impacting cyber-attack in the past 12 months, according to a global industry study that published by Cyber Exposure company Tenable.
The data is drawn from ‘The Rise of the Business-Aligned Security Executive,’ a commissioned study of more than 800 global business and cybersecurity leaders, including 49 respondents in Saudi Arabia, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Tenable.
As cybercriminals continue their relentless attacks, 85 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of business-impacting cyber-attacks over the past two years. Unfortunately, these attacks had damaging effects, with organisations reporting loss of customer and/or employee data (41 percent), ransomware payments (37 percent) and financial loss or theft (35 percent). Roughly 61 percent security leaders in Saudi Arabia say these attacks also involved operational technology (OT).
Business leaders want a clear picture of how at risk they are and how that risk is changing as they plan and execute business strategies. But only four out of 10 of local security leaders say they can answer the fundamental question, “How secure, or at risk, are we?” with a high level of confidence, despite the prevalence of business-impacting cyber-attacks.
Looking at global respondents, fewer than 50 percent of security leaders said they are framing cybersecurity threats within the context of a specific business risk. For example, though 96 percent of respondents had developed response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, 75 percent of business and security leaders admitted their response strategies were only “somewhat” aligned.
Organisations with security and business leaders who are aligned in measuring and managing cybersecurity as a strategic business risk deliver demonstrable results. Compared to their siloed peers, business-aligned security leaders are:
- Eight times more likely to be highly confident in their ability to report on their organisations’ level of security or risk.
- 90 percent are very or completely confident in their ability to demonstrate that cybersecurity investments are positively impacting business performance compared with 55 percent of their siloed counterparts.
- 85 percent have metrics to track cybersecurity ROI and impact on business performance versus just 25 percent of their siloed peers.
- Organisations with business-aligned cybersecurity leaders are also:
- Three times more likely to ensure cybersecurity objectives are in lock step with business priorities.
- Three times more likely to have a holistic understanding of their organisation’s entire attack surface.
- Three times more likely to use a combination of asset criticality and vulnerability data when prioritising remediation efforts.
“In the future, there will be two kinds of CISO — those who align themselves directly with the business and everyone else. The only way to thrive in this era of digital acceleration is to bring cyber into every business question, decision and investment,” said Renaud Deraison, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Tenable. “We believe this study shows that forward-leaning organisations view cybersecurity strategy as essential to innovation and that when security and the business work hand-in-glove, the results can be transformational.”