ANZ businesses feel more exposed to cyberattacks than global peers: ISACA

More IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand are anticipating being hit by a cyber-security attack this year than their peers around the world, new figures from peak security body ISACA have revealed.

In its 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report survey of more 3439 members across 129 countries, ISACA found that 61 percent of ANZ respondents said that they were expecting to be hit with an attack this year.

That's well above the 46 percent of global respondents that said they were expecting an attack, but the figures are even more concerning because just 43 percent of ANZ IT professionals said they were prepared to deal with such an attack.

Much of the shortfall is due to a lack of qualified IT security experts, ISACA found, with 31 percent of ANZ respondents planning to hire cybersecurity professionals this year but only 5 percent of respondents indicating that it would be easy to find suitable candidates.

Some 85 percent agreed that there is a shortage of such skilled professionals, while 53 percent said it was difficult to evaluate potential candidates' levels of skills and knowledge.

The results highlight the breadth of a problem that is only becoming more acute as high-profile hacks bring the issue of data security to the forefront of corporate executive priorities, said Garry Barnes, international vice president of ISACA and Governance Advisory Practice lead at Sydney-based Vital Interacts.

“Data breaches at a series of well-known retailers in 2014 made the issue of data security highly visible to consumers and highlighted the struggles that companies face in keeping data safe,” Barnes said in a statement.

“We expect the problem is set to increase. Local companies and government entities must be prepared to address issues of cybersecurity head on and ensure their organisations are ready to respond swiftly if attacked.”

Half of ANZ organisations planned to increase cybersecurity awareness training for staff in the wake of the high-profile breaches of 2014.

The survey also found strong support for mandatory breach notification, which formed a key part of US president Barack Obama's recent State of the Union address and is likely to see businesses in that company forced to reveal breaches involving customer data within 30 days.

Some 37 percent of ANZ respondents strongly agreed with the proposal, with a further 39 percent agreeing with it and 17 percent neutral.

Fully 53 percent of respondents said their biggest concern about mandatory breach notification was the impact on corporate reputation, while 19 percent said their systems weren't designed for such notifications and 13 percent were concerned about the increased costs.

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

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Tags data securityISACAGarry BarnesGovernance Advisory Practice leadCSO AustraliacyberattacksEnex TestLabdata breachescyber-securityANZ businessesIT professionals

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