Research & WhitepapersSecuritySponsored

CISOs Struggling To Combat Modern Security Challenges: Study

The McAfee study reveals that 61 percent CISOs claimed to have experienced a data breach at their current employer.

Image courtesy :

IT security professionals are struggling to fully secure their organisations and protect against cyber breaches. A new report by McAfee reveals that 61 percent CIO/CISOs are claiming to have experienced a data breach at their current employer.

Data breaches are becoming more serious in nature. The study titled:  Grand Theft Data II – The Drivers and Shifting State of Data Breaches, further reveals that cyber criminals continue to target intellectual property putting the reputation of the company brand at risk and increasing financial liability.

The McAfee report highlights some interesting points.

  • Savvier thieves: Cyber crooks now steal data by a wide range of methods. No single technique dominates the industry at present. The top vectors used to exfiltrate data are database leaks, cloud applications and removable USB drives.
  • IP tied for 1st: Personally identifiable information (PII) and intellectual property (IP) are now tied as the data categories. This has the highest potential impact to 43% of respondents. Notably, PII is of greater concern in Europe (49%). That’s most likely due to the recent enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In Asia-Pacific countries, intellectual property theft is of greater concern (51%) than PII.
  • Blame game: IT seems to be the culprit with 52 percent of respondents claiming IT is at fault for creating the most data leakage events. Business operations (29 percent) follows next. Highly regulated internal groups including finance (12 percent) and legal (6 percent) were the most secure.
  • The great divide: Security technology continues to operate in isolation. A whopping 81 percent report separate policies or management consoles for cloud access security broker (CASB) and data loss prevention (DLP), resulting in delayed detection and remediation actions.
  • Taking responsibility: There is a rift in regard to accountability. Over 55 percent of IT professionals believe that c-level executives should lose their job if a breach is serious enough. Yet 61 percent also state that the c-level executives they work with expect more lenient security policies for themselves.
  • Future proofing: IT professionals are taking action, with almost two-thirds stating they have purchased additional DLP, CASB and endpoint detection solutions over the last 12 months. Respondents believe that between 65 and 80 percent of breaches experienced would have been prevented if one or more of these systems had been installed.

“Threats have evolved and will continue to become even more sophisticated,” said Candace Worley, vice president and chief technical strategist at McAfee.

According to Worley, organizations need to augment security measures by implementing a culture of security. They  should emphasize that all employees are part of an organization’s security posture, not just the IT team. “To stay ahead of threats, it is critical companies provide a holistic approach to improving security process. Utilizing an integrated security solution and practice of good security hygiene is the way to go,” Worley suggests.

The study shows cyber criminals now use multiple attacks in a breach. More importantly, cyber criminals continue to target personal data and intellectual property.

Furthermore, IT security teams are increasingly concerned about external threat actors compromising their network. This has forced more organizations to publicly disclose when breaches occur. The severity of breaches results not only in financial repercussions but damage to brand reputation as well, it states.

McAfee researchers also demonstrate the need for a cybersecurity strategy. This includes implementing integrated security solutions combined with employee training. They also recommend an overall culture of security throughout the organization to reduce future breaches.

Leave a Response

Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at