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When it comes to the threat of cyber attack, no organization is safe. As the past few years have proved, hackers will eagerly target any business if they perceive an opportunity to gain access to sensitive company information. Demonstrating this trend, Gartner has predicted that global IT security spending will reach $76.9 billion this year, up from $71.1 billion in 2014.
However, this does not mean that every company is equally at risk. The fact remains that some organizations possess more valuable assets than others, and cyber attackers will inevitably turn their attention to these prospects first.
This notion undoubtedly applies to the technology sector. Not only is this industry home to some of the most financially robust firms in the world – it also possesses invaluable intellectual property. It should come as no surprise, then, that a recent survey revealed chief financial officers in the tech sector significantly increased their cyber security spending last year.
Cyber security response
The survey, conducted by BDO USA, included insight from 100 U.S. technology CFOs. Among these participants, two-thirds said they have increased their cyber security measures in the past year.
“Many tech CFOs began to work with third-party security consultants last year.”
These cyber security-related efforts have taken a number of different forms. Almost every one of the CFOs who took steps to improve cyber defenses invested in new software security tools, while 72 percent created formal data breach response plans. Significantly, just shy of half of these CFOs began to work with third-party security consultants. Just as importantly, 30 percent of CFOs who embraced new cyber security efforts established a chief security officer position at their companies.
The survey also highlighted the specific reasons why tech CFOs are so intent on improving and expanding their cyber security defenses. The most commonly cited threat, according to participating executives, was the risk of foreign intellectual property infringements.
“The threat assessments of likely cyber threats from unknown entities is causing the tech industry to be on high alert,” explained Aftab Jamil, partner and leader of the Technology and Life Sciences Practice at BDO USA. “U.S. companies will … need to implement or enhance their data privacy initiatives to mitigate any risks or vulnerabilities to their IT infrastructures, particularly with cyber capabilities evolving at rapid speed.”
As the survey demonstrated, tech CFOs are embracing robust, multifaceted strategies to improve their overall cyber security posturing. This is a wise strategy, as hackers are becoming not only more numerous, but also more sophisticated in their efforts, and there’s no single solution that can fully address this danger.
However, you could easily argue that the single most important area to focus on is cyber security talent. Increasingly, cyber criminals are coming to realize that it is easier and more effective to target human weak links rather than trying to penetrate companies’ firewalls. The best way for companies to stave off this threat is by ensuring they have highly skilled, well-trained cyber security professionals on staff who can guide overarching strategies and respond to threats early on, before they cause serious damage.