Breaches inevitable but business leaders still “indifferent” to data security

Many senior executives still fail to recognise that information security is crucial to their company's survival and less than one in ten sees poor data security as the greatest risk to their business, according to an NTT Com Security survey released this week.

Aiming to gauge the importance of security at the senior business level, the company surveyed 800 non-IT senior business decision-makers in Australia and 7 other countries.

The global Risk:Value report found that while 63 percent expect to suffer a data-security breach at some point, just 9 percent of Australian executives see 'poor data security' as the greatest risk to their business.

Executives tended to see bigger risks from conventional business issues such as competitors taking market share, lack of employee skills and decreasing profits.

And while 59 percent said that a security breach would cause minimal long-term damage, 60 percent believed that their organisation would suffer reputational damage in the event of a breach and 56 percent believed such an event would affect customer confidence in the company.

The results reflect “a worrying level of indifference” towards data security at the executive level, according to NTT Com Security senior vice president for security strategy & alliances Garry Sidaway.

“The concern here is whether senior business decision makers recognise the risks to their organisation, as well as understand the value of good data security,” Sidaway said in a statement.

“When we asked respondents what they associate with the term data security, only half believe it is ‘vital’ to the business, less than half see it as ‘good practice’ and less than a quarter see it as ‘a business enabler’. “The majority unfortunately still associates security with data protection or privacy.”

The survey also asked business leaders their perceptions of data security, which was labelled by 49 percent as 'expensive' and 18 percent as 'disruptive'.

Just 57 percent said that their employees, on average, are aware of and understand the company's data security.

Australian business leaders were more confident in their data security than other countries, with 54 percent saying that all of their critical data was 'completely secure' compared with 44 percent globally.

Just 37 percent, however, said that all of their consumer or customer data is 'completely secure' even though 55 percent agreed that data is vitally important to the success of their business.

“The report also suggests that there is still a disconnect between the cost of data breaches and the importance organisations place on IT security to drive these costs down,” Sidaway said. “With security incidents making headlines daily, and costs soaring for a major breach, a security incident can have far-reaching implications.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags NTTsenior executivesdata securitysecurity incidentsBreaches inevitableGarry SidawayCSO AustraliaEnex TestLabdata breachesAustralian executivesglobal Riskinformation security

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