Gartner: 88% of Boards of Directors view cybersecurity as a business risk

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According to a new survey from Gartner, 88% of Boards of Directors view cybersecurity as a business risk, as opposed to a technology risk. However, only 12% of Boards of Directors have a dedicated board-level cybersecurity committee. The 2022 Gartner Board of Directors survey was conducted via an online survey from May through June 2021 among 273 respondents in the U.S., Europe and APAC in a Board of Director role or a member of the corporate Board of Directors. “It’s time for executives outside of IT to take responsibility for securing the enterprise – said Paul Proctor, distinguished research vice president at Gartner -. The influx of ransomware and supply chain attacks seen throughout 2021, many of which targeted operation- and mission-critical environments, should be a wake-up call that security is a business issue, and not just another problem for IT to solve”. Even as business leaders are aware of the need to secure the enterprise against new and evolving threats, responsibility for security mostly lies with IT leadership. A recent Gartner research (2021 Global Security and Risk Management Governance survey) found that in 85% of organizations, the CIO, CISO or their equivalent was the top person held accountable for cybersecurity. Just 10% of organizations held non-IT senior managers accountable. “IT and security leaders are often considered the ultimate authorities for protecting the enterprise from threats – said Proctor -. Yet, business leaders make decisions every day, without consulting the CIO or CISO, that impact the organization’s security”. CIOs and CISOs must rebalance accountability for cybersecurity so that it is shared with business and enterprise leaders. Gartner recommends that IT and security leaders work with executives and BoDs to establish governance that shares responsibility for business decisions that affect enterprise security. Besides, Gartner projections show that overall growth in cybersecurity spend will slow through 2023. “After years of such heavy investment in security, Boards are now pushing back and asking what their dollars have achieved”, said Proctor. As security budgets shrink, CIOs and CISOs will need to collaborate closely with executive leadership to reframe cybersecurity investment in a business context. For example, CISOs can offer a range of protection options to business leaders with the costs and risks of each choice clearly outlined.