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New Cisco Study Finds Only 15% of Companies Surveyed are Ready to Defend Against Cybersecurity Threats

  • Being prepared is crucial. In the upcoming 12 to 24 months, 82% of respondents stated they anticipate a cybersecurity event to impair their organisation.
  • Being unprepared can have serious financial consequences: the majority of respondents claimed to have had a cybersecurity issue during the past year, which 41% of the impacted firms estimated to have cost at least $500,000.
  • Organizations are acting: Over the next 12 months, 86% of respondents’ firms want to boost their cybersecurity budgets by at least 10%.

According to Cisco’s first-ever Cybersecurity Readiness Index, which was issued today, just 15% of organisations worldwide have reached the “Mature” level of preparation required to be robust against today’s current cybersecurity challenges. The index was created in the context of a hybrid, post-COVID environment in which users and data must be protected wherever work is done. The research outlines areas where firms are succeeding and areas where, if global business and security leaders do nothing, cybersecurity capability gaps will worsen.

Organizations have transitioned from a largely static operating model in which people operated from a single device from a single location while 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 amounts of data. For businesses, this creates fresh and distinctive cybersecurity challenges.

Resilience in a Hybrid World: The Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index

The report, titled Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Resilience in a Hybrid World, gauges how prepared businesses are to sustain cybersecurity resilience in the face of contemporary threats. These measures span 19 various solutions across the five main pillars of identification, devices, networks, application workloads, and data, which together make up the minimum set of necessary defences.

In a double-blind poll conducted by an impartial third party, 6,700 private sector cybersecurity leaders from 27 markets were asked which of these solutions they had implemented and at what stage. Then, businesses were divided into the four readiness stages of beginner, formative, progressive, and mature.


Coupled with the sobering fact that only 15% of businesses are at the Mature level, more than half (55%) of businesses worldwide are in the Novice (8%) or Formative (47%) stages, which indicates that their cybersecurity readiness is below average.

The fact that 82% of respondents indicated they anticipate a cybersecurity event to affect their business during the next 12 to 24 months further adds to the significance of this readiness gap. 60% of respondents reported experiencing a cybersecurity issue in the previous 12 months, and 41% of those affected reported that it cost them at least US$500,000. This indicates that the cost of being unprepared can be significant.

“The move to a hybrid world has fundamentally changed the landscape for companies and created even greater cybersecurity complexity. Organizations must stop approaching defense with a mix of point tools and instead, consider integrated platforms to achieve security resilience while reducing complexity”, “Only then will businesses be able to close the cybersecurity readiness gap.”

Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of security and collaboration at Cisco

The confidence in these firms’ capacity to remain resilient will increase as they make investments in enhancing their cybersecurity readiness. Presently, 53% of the Mature-rated organisations expressed being “Very Confident” in their capacity to manage the risks. Nevertheless, only 34% of businesses in the Formative stage and 30% of businesses in the Beginning stage share this sentiment.

To create secure and resilient companies, business executives must establish a baseline of “readiness” across the five security pillars. Given that 86% of the respondents intend to boost their security budgets by at least 10% over the next 12 months, this requirement is extremely pressing. Organizations can build on their strengths and give priority to the areas where they need to mature and become more resilient by developing a basis.

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