As uncertainties—cybersecurity and otherwise—swim around us with increased velocity and frequency, it’s always helpful to hear directly from security leaders in the trenches of our industry. These first-hand accounts have the unique ability to shed light on the challenges security professionals and their teams face nearly every day of their work lives. That’s precisely what this “2018 Cybersecurity: Perceptions & Practices” benchmark survey accomplishes. It provides insights into the state of the cybersecurity practice of 751 mid- to large-sized organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, and AsiaPacific regions. From these insights, one thing that comes as a surprise is data that suggests that the U.S. may not be leading the cybersecurity industry in security maturity. In fact, respondents from organizations in the Asia-Pacific region clearly indicate that they are far more likely to have a security operations center (SOC) than their U.S. and U.K. counterparts. The Asia-Pacific region also boasts the largest percentage of IT budget allocation toward cybersecurity. Both of these findings suggest a cultural prioritization toward security investments—one that isn’t being matched by the U.S. or U.K. When prompted on workflow/employee efficiency, it appears evident that security professionals are wasting huge amounts of time and effort on false positives and inefficient processes. Of course, this isn’t news to us, but it’s important to note how the data acutely quantifies this problem. The majority of IT executives indicate that the average cybersecurity professional wastes as much as 10 hours a week due to software inefficiencies. In an industry already plagued by a shortage in qualified specialists, this is a reality that is not only unacceptable, but also avoidable. Containment of cyberthreats and breaches is a major challenge for all organizations. It takes time to understand the full scope of an incident and determine how best to neutralize it. This is exacerbated by a lack of resources (human, technology, intelligence) and then compounded when automation and orchestration are not efficiently leveraged to reduce the time necessary to complete the investigative processes. Now, more than ever, security teams need to be working more intentionally. Corroboration and qualification using threat intelligence and other technologies help teams make informed decisions. Establishing automation and orchestration processes, protocols, and procedures for the most prevalent classes of attacks will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of most any SOC. As security experts, it’s unlikely our constant state of being stretched thin will be relieved anytime soon. But this survey does shine a ray of hope: the majority of IT executives surveyed believe their C-suite is paying more attention to cybersecurity efforts than they did last year. That, combined with the availability of NextGen SIEM and end-to-end security solutions today, gives me optimism that cybersecurity organizations across the globe may soon increase fortification in the fight against cyberthreats.
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