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The Urgent Need for Cybersecurity Readiness in a Hybrid World: A Comprehensive Look at Cisco's Cyber

A new report reveals an alarming cybersecurity readiness gap, with only 15% of organizations globally prepared for the security risks of our increasingly hybrid world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the landscape of business operations. Organizations have shifted from a predominantly static operating model, where employees operated from a single location and device, connecting to a static network, to a hybrid world. In this new environment, employees increasingly operate from multiple devices in various locations, connecting to numerous networks. With this transformation, the requirements for cybersecurity have changed, and the long-term success of this hybrid model depends on organizations' ability to safeguard themselves against new and rapidly evolving threats.

To understand how organizations around the world are prepared to meet these modern security challenges, Cisco developed the Cybersecurity Readiness Index. The index categorizes companies into four stages of readiness – Beginner, Formative, Progressive, and Mature – based on their preparedness across five key pillars and the state of deployment of 19 security solutions within those.

The results of the index are striking: only 15% of organizations globally are considered to have a mature level of preparedness to handle the security risks of our hybrid world. This is despite 82% of security leaders believing that cybersecurity incidents are likely to disrupt their businesses over the next 12 to 24 months. Moreover, nearly 60% of respondents have experienced some cybersecurity incident in the last year, with 71% of affected organizations reporting costs of at least US$100,000 and 41% indicating costs of US$500,000 or more.

The index also reveals interesting variations in private company cybersecurity readiness across markets. Surprisingly, companies in less developed nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and Americas regions, outperform their peers in wealthier countries. This can be partly attributed to these emerging market companies' recent digitization journeys, which allowed them to deploy and integrate security solutions more easily without the constraints of legacy systems.

However, European companies lag behind the global average on readiness, with less than 10% of organizations in almost all countries considered mature enough to tackle today's cybersecurity challenges.

The readiness gap also varies across company sizes and industries. Mid-sized firms with 250 to 1,000 employees are best prepared, while smaller organizations are the least prepared. Sectors with the most to lose, such as healthcare, financial services, and retail, tend to have a higher percentage of organizations in the Mature readiness stage.

Closing this alarming cybersecurity readiness gap must become a global imperative. While security leaders are aware of the risks and plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets, organizations need to think about security differently, shifting their focus from stand-alone security strategies to security resilience. This means making security foundational to business strategy and collectively prioritizing it throughout the organization, allowing companies to better anticipate threats and bounce back faster when threats become real.

The Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index serves as a wake-up call for senior business leaders. As the shift to a hybrid world continues to accelerate, the impact on businesses, customers, and society will only increase amid a complex threat landscape. It is crucial that organizations invest in their cybersecurity readiness and prioritize closing the readiness gap to ensure a secure and resilient future.

To gain a deeper understanding of the cybersecurity readiness gap and learn how your organization can build resilience in a hybrid world, download the report now.

Download HERE.
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