Cyberspace: Make Security a Business Priority, Cisco Advises Companies

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Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

The global Information Technology and networking giant, Cisco has advised organizations and governments to make security of their networks and operations a business priority.

This was part of the recommendations in the 10th edition of the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report, (ACR).

The report which also suggested measuring of operational discipline, testing security effectiveness and adoption of integrated defense approach showed reduction in “Time to Detection” to six hours.

According to the report , over one-third of organizations that experienced a breach in 2016 reported substantial customer, opportunity and revenue loss of more than 20 percent.

The study revealed that 90 of these organizations are improving threat defense technologies and processes after attacks by separating IT and security functions, 38 percent step up security awareness training for employees while 37 percent start implementing risk mitigation techniques.

The report which surveyed nearly 3,000 chief security officers (CSOs) and security operations leaders from 13 countries in the Security Capabilities Benchmark Study highlights challenges and opportunities for security teams to defend against the relentless evolution of cybercrime and shifting attack modes.

In the study, CSOs cite budget constraints, poor compatibility of systems, and a lack of trained talent as the biggest barriers to advancing their security postures.

Also, leaders reveal that their security departments are increasingly complex environments with 65 percent of organizations using from six to more than 50 security products, increasing the potential for security effectiveness gaps.

To exploit these gaps, ACR data shows criminals leading a resurgence of “classic” attack vectors, such as adware and email spam, the latter at levels not seen since 2010. Spam accounts for nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of email with eight to 10 percent cited as malicious. Global spam volume is rising, often spread by large and thriving botnets.

All of these were to buttress the new trends and dynamism in cybersecurity since the inaugural ACR in 2007 And how technology has helped attacks become more damaging which requires sophisticated defenses.

With this report, Cisco maintained that the foundation of of security remains as important as ever because in 2007, the ACR reported Web and business applications were the targets often via social engineering or user-introduced infections.

However, hackers now attack cloud based applications which escalated spam in 2017.

Based on findings from the latest edition of ACR, Cisco advises organizations to take steps to prevent, detect and mitigate threats and minimize risk.

Speaking on the report, Country General Manager Olakunle Oloruntimehin said to help organizations, Cisc has developed solutions to protect its clients from malicious attacks.

He said, “In Nigeria, we recognize that the penetration of mobile and growth in internet usage also means that we are more vulnerable to cybercrimes. That is why we leverage our partners, the Cisco Networking Academy program and certification in addition to typical customer enablement activities to grow our security market share. We have a growing list of over 300 partners in Nigeria covering security in verticals like retail, financial, services, oil, Healthcare, hospitality and public sector. The Cisco Networking Academy is expanding its causes to include security everywhere by providing knowledge and capacity building partnering with government and private educational institutions. This actually aligns with the skills development and jobs creation goal of government ensuring that we are also increasing skills in security IT. We currently have over 130 academies in Nigeria and have more joining this number on a quarterly basis.”

In 2017, cyber is business and business is cyber, that requires a different conversation and very different outcomes. Relentless improvement is required and that be measured via efficacy, cost and well managed risk. The 2017 annual cybersecurity report demonstrates that and I hope justifies, answers to our struggles on budget, personnel, innovation and architecture.”

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