What the Cybersecurity Assessment Report Tells Us About the State of Cybersecurity

Josue Ledesma

July 13, 2023

What the Cybersecurity Assessment Report Tells Us About the State of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity teams face increasing pressure as phishing and ransomware attacks grow more sophisticated, with over half of companies experiencing cyber threats and data breaches in the past year. The global average cost per data breach has risen to $4.35 million, and the strain on cybersecurity teams is evident, with many having to work on weekends and even being asked to stay quiet about data breaches confidential.

Unfortunately, cybersecurity tools aren’t helping as much as expected and creating more work for already-strained organizations. With fears of a recession, companies tightening budgets across all departments, and attacks increasing in frequency, cybersecurity teams are in a tough position.

To get a better understanding of what cybersecurity teams are concerned with the most and how they’re looking to prepare in the coming months, we interviewed over 400 IT professionals and found a couple of key insights.

  • Over 84% of respondents in the US say they experienced an increase in phishing attacks.

  • These attacks alongside software vulnerabilities, social engineering, and supply chain attacks made the top three most concerning threats.

  • The biggest security myth respondents wished they could bust was the idea that security is solely the responsibility of the IT team.

These concerns are quite common and speak to the need for an organization-wide effort to build security culture in order to mobilize employees inside and out of cybersecurity departments so you can effectively carry out your cybersecurity strategy. You can check out our survey and read on to learn how you can ready your organization to have a strong, resilient cybersecurity posture.

Organizational challenges to cybersecurity

As cyber threats evolve and become more sophisticated, environments become more complex, and third-parties and supply chain partners continue to pose a significant cyber risk, a company's ability to address these cybersecurity concerns relies heavily on its internal readiness and mobilization.

In order to effectively combat external threats, organizations must overcome internal challenges, such as the increasing talent shortage within cybersecurity teams, tool and vendor complexity, an overworked security staff, and a lack of buy-in across the organization. Fostering a security culture is necessary to address these challenges and ensure that your cybersecurity strategy and priorities are adopted and result in a comprehensive cybersecurity posture.

An overwhelmed cybersecurity department

One of the primary challenges cybersecurity departments face is a lack of skill sets among their employees. As cyber threats become more advanced, the need for specialized knowledge and expertise grows. Unfortunately, there is a significant talent gap in the cybersecurity field, making it difficult for companies to recruit and retain skilled professionals. A recent ICS2 study found that despite record growth numbers in the cybersecurity workforce, there’s still 3.4M vacant cybersecurity jobs and 70% of employees say their departments are understaffed

This talent shortage exacerbates the problem of expanding capabilities, as organizations struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of environment shifts, new tech adoptions, and the ever-growing array of cyber threats they must defend against.

As new technologies and solutions are developed to address emerging threats, organizations must continuously evaluate, implement, and integrate these tools into their existing infrastructure. This can be a daunting task for security teams that are already stretched thin and overworked and leads to its own issue of vendor complexity and a burden of tool management.. This can impact security professionals who are expected to manage an ever-increasing workload, often leading to burnout and decreased effectiveness.

These reasons are largely why, as we found in our report, respondents named complexity and lack of security skill-set as two of the three biggest challenges in their security solutions. Those working in those departments also reported that they often have to work weekends and over 50% in the US say they’re planning to look for a new job within the year.

How to prepare an organization for a resilient cybersecurity posture

To ensure that an organization has the ability to maintain a resilient cybersecurity posture, your department should be focused on threat hunting and the ability to remediate and recover from a threat and recognize that response and recovery efforts are just as important as detection and prevention. By prioritizing this proactive approach to cybersecurity, organizations can better prepare for, respond to, and recover from cyber attacks, minimizing downtime and potential damage. 

This approach should dictate how departments can address many of the challenges and frustrations they feel in trying to keep their companies secure. This means companies need to simplify, streamline, and find ways to lessen the stress and burden their cybersecurity and IT departments face.

Reducing vendor complexity and tool overload

One important priority should be consolidating their security vendor and tool environment. Organizations often employ a variety of security tools and solutions from different vendors, which can create compatibility issues, complicate security responsibilities, and lead to inefficiencies due to alert fatigue, overwhelming management, and not having enough personnel to deal with every vendor and tool.

By streamlining and consolidating their security tech stack, departments can reduce complexity, and improve their ability to identify and respond to threats more effectively and efficiently. If done correctly, this can also minimize redundancies and optimize investments, a welcome benefit during these times of economic uncertainty. These benefits also have downstream effects that can improve remediation and recovery efforts, reducing the risk and impact a cyber incident may cause.

Improving security culture within (and beyond) your department

To ensure that your new cybersecurity strategy is effective, it’s essential to ensure your team feels like they have the right training and resources while also building and establishing a security culture that permeates the entire organization. By promoting awareness, education, and collaboration among employees at every department, and encouraging a security-first mindset will help ensure that your policies and tools are being used (and enforced), minimizing issues of visibility and lack of awareness.

Within your own cybersecurity department, it’s important to consider investing in continuous training and education that can help them adapt to constantly evolving cybersecurity threats while staying on top of key skills and knowledge necessary for modern tools and technology utilized in cybersecurity departments. This includes skills and training within ML and AI areas, for example, which are being increasingly used in security tools. This can increase retention and also show your team that you’re invested in them and willing to help them grow.

Utilizing outsourced services to address key cybersecurity challenges

Despite the benefits offered by a consolidated vendor environment and a healthy security culture, organizations still need to find ways to address the increasing complexity of threats and environments without being able to increase their department’s headcount for budget and availability reasons.

One of the most effective resources available to companies are managed services, which can come in the form of MDR, MSPs, MSSPs, and managed XDR service providers which can fill key gaps in their security strategy. These outsourced partners offer 24/7 security coverage, capacity, and proactivity, ensuring that organizations are continuously protected against evolving threats. By working with one of these managed service providers, businesses can access specialized expertise, advanced security technologies, and a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to safeguarding their assets. 

This level of support not only bolsters an organization's defenses but also enables internal security teams to focus on strategic initiatives that drive business growth. It also eliminates the need for department expansion and, depending on the partner, it can often deliver a single-vendor stack of security tools and technology, simplifying pricing, often reducing costs, and easing overall vendor complexity.

As we found in our report, 24/7 security coverage and the ability to free up internal resources were some of the primary reasons for using a managed security provider.

To learn more about how managed services can help improve your cybersecurity department and better secure your organization, check out Bitdefender. And to learn more about the state of cybersecurity, download our white paper.


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Josue Ledesma

Josue Ledesma is a writer, filmmaker, and content marketer living in New York City. He covers cyber security, tech and finance, consumer privacy, and B2B digital marketing.

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