Points of View

The State of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust 2016

What are the key cyber threats faced by enterprises today? What core business initiatives are most at-risk? Do enterprises have the right technology, talent, and skills to outwit increasingly organized and sophisticated threat actors? How is executive management leveraging cybersecurity as part of a comprehensive risk management strategy, and helping drive a culture of digital trust throughout the extended enterprise?


HfS Research and Accenture surveyed 208 enterprise security professionals across a range of geographies and vertical industry sectors to learn how cybersecurity threats are perceived and countered within the enterprise. The goal was to better understanding the state of cybersecurity and the steps enterprises should take to both secure data and foster a holistic sense of digital trust throughout the extended enterprise, from employees to partners to consumers.


The results of our study were sobering. 


  • Cloud computing, a culture of cybersecurity awareness, and cloud storage are rated as the most important enterprise initiatives, while brand reputation and customer support are rated the most vulnerable business goals.
  • Seventy percent of respondents cite a lack of, or inadequate, funding for either cybersecurity technology or security talent (including training).
  • Thirty-one percent of respondents list lack of training or staffing budget as the single biggest inhibitor to cybersecurity readiness.
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents have experienced an attempted or realized data theft or corruption by corporate insiders.
  • Seventy-six percent of respondents believe they need some level of improvement in their ability to conduct threat and vulnerability assessments.
  • While 54 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that cybersecurity is an enabler of digital trust for consumers, 36 percent believe their executive management considers cybersecurity an unnecessary cost.
  • The hottest counter-threat growth areas are cognitive/AI, data anonymization, behavioral tracking, and automation—areas that involve new spending and new skills.


What can enterprises do to overcome the cyber threats faced today (and tomorrow)? This report identifies five key gaps between operational requirements and business reality, spanning talent, technology, organizational parity, budget, and management, all of which are inhibitors to enterprise security, proper risk management, and business growth. 


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