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ANZ IT professionals expect to face a cyber attack in 2015

22 Jan 2015

A new global survey of more than 3,400 members of IT association ISACA shows that close to half, 46%, of respondents expect their organisation to face a cyberattack in 2015. 

Locally, in Australia/New Zealand, respondents feel that an attack is even more likely with 61% expecting a cyberattack this year, a figure ISACA says is concerning, considering less than half of ANZ IT professionals, 43%, say they are prepared, likely due to a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel.

The survey showed more than 85% of ANZ members surveyed believe there is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, and similarly 85% of ISACA’s local survey respondents whose businesses will be hiring cybersecurity professionals in 2015 say it will be difficult to find skilled candidates.

“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,” says Garry Barnes, ISACA International vice president. 

“Given the latest news this week of a large Australian travel insurance company being hacked, we expect the problem is set to increase,” he says. “Local companies and government entities must be prepared to address issue of cybersecurity head on and ensure their organisations are ready to respond swiftly if attacked.” 

“ISACA supports increased discussion and activity to address escalating high-profile cyberattacks on organisations worldwide,” says Robert E Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, international president of ISACA. 

“As government leaders call for action, we hope they take a clear and straight-forward approach, working in close coordination with industry,” Stroud says. “Cybersecurity is everyone’s business, and creating a workforce trained to prevent and respond to today’s sophisticated attacks is a critical priority.”

Globally, ISACA’s survey shows that more than three-quarters of respondents support US President Barack Obama’s proposed 30 Day Breach Notification Law as discussed in the State of the Union Address.

Finding and retaining skilled cybersecurity employees is a key challenge, with only 43% of ANZ IT professionals stating they feel the organisation would be prepared to fend off a sophisticated attack. 

When asked about hiring entry-level cybersecurity candidates, 53% said it is difficult to identify who has an adequate level of skills and knowledge.

“As the world grapples simultaneously with escalating cyberattacks and a growing skills shortage, ISACA believes that it is absolutely essential to develop and train a robust cybersecurity workforce,” says Barnes. 

“That is why we launched the Cybersecurity Nexus in 2014. We take very seriously our role in addressing the skills gap through skills-based credentials, training, guidance and mentoring programmes.”

ISACA says CIOs, CISOs and security leaders must revisit the organisational structure and skills of their security teams and IT staff that have any responsibility for securing information assets. 

Barnes adds that any cybersecurity plan needs to be taken off the shelf and reassessed and updated for an organisation and its professionals to be adequately prepared. 

“Security practitioners need to understand the relationship between their organisation, its people, its IT assets and the kinds of adversaries and threats they are facing,” he says.

He says it is only through this analysis can the right cybersecurity programme be designed and implemented where budget, skills, intensity and performance all are balanced at the appropriate levels.

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