AI, Machine Learning Key To Cyber Resilience, Survey Finds

The study, conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient, found that 77% of respondents state they do not have a formal cyber security incident response plan applied consistently across their organizations.

IBM Security has announced the results of a global study exploring the factors and challenges of being cyber resilient — an organization’s ability to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of cyberattacks. Researchers collected in-depth qualitative data through more than 1,900 separate interviews conducted over a 10-month period in the 419 companies. Interviews were completed March 2017. Researchers spoke to IT, compliance, and information security practitioners to gauge their cyber security practices.

cyber security

The study, conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient, has found that 77% of respondents state they do not have a formal cyber security incident response plan (CSIRP) applied consistently across their organization. Nearly half of the 2,800 respondents reported that their incident response plan is either informal/ad hoc or non-existent.

Despite this lack of formal planning, 72% of organizations report feeling more cyber resilient today than they were last year. Highly resilient organizations (61%) attribute their confidence to their ability to hire skilled personnel — but organizations need both technology and people to be cyber resilient. In fact, 60% of respondents consider a lack of investment in AI and machine learning as the biggest barrier to cyber resilience.

IBM notes this confidence may be misplaced, with the analysis revealing that 57% of respondents said the time to resolve an incident has increased, while 65% reported the severity of the attacks has increased. These areas represent some of the key factors impacting overall cyber resiliency. These problems are further compounded by just 31% of those surveyed having an adequate cyber resilience budget in place and difficulty retaining and hiring IT Security professionals (77%).

“Organizations may be feeling more cyber resilient today, and the biggest reason why was hiring skilled personnel,” said Ted Julian, VP of product management and co-founder, IBM Resilient. “Having the right staff in place is critical but arming them with the most modern tools to augment their work is equally as important. A response plan that orchestrates human intelligence with machine intelligence is the only way security teams are going to get ahead of the threat and improve overall cyber resilience.”

The lack of a consistent CSIRP is a persistent trend each year despite a key finding from IBM’s 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study (free download, with registration). The cost of a data breach was nearly $1 million lower on average when organizations were able to contain the breach in less than thirty days — highlighting the value and importance of having a strong CSIRP.

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient, “The 2018 Cyber Resilient Organization” is the third annual benchmark study on cyber resilience. The global survey features insight from more than 2,800 security and IT professionals from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Australia.

“A sharp focus in a few crucial areas can make a big difference when it comes to cyber resilience,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon. “Ensuring the security function is equipped with a proper incident response plan, staffing, and budget will lead to a stronger security posture and better overall cyber resilience.”

Other takeaways from the study include:

Staffing for cyber resilience-related activities is inadequate.

  • The second-biggest barrier to cyber resilience was having insufficient skilled personnel dedicated to cyber security.
  • 29% of respondents reported having ideal staffing to achieve Cyber Resilience.
  • 50% say their organization’s current CISO or security leader has been in place for three years or less. Meanwhile, 23% report they do not currently have a CISO or security leader.

Organizations are not ready for GDPR.

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in May 2018 and will mandate that relevant organizations have an incident response plan in place.
  • 77% of respondents do not have an incident response plan that is applied consistently across the entire enterprise.
  • Most countries surveyed do not report confidence in their ability to comply with GDPR.