Cisco Study Reveals Very Few Organizations in Canada Prepared to Defend Against Today's Rapidly Evolving Threat Landscape

News Summary:

  • Only one per cent of organizations in Canada have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s cybersecurity risks.
  • Readiness is critical, as 63 per cent of respondents said a cybersecurity incident is likely to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months.
  • Companies are taking action to address this as 96 per cent of companies expect to increase their cybersecurity budgets in the next 12 months.

TORONTO, March 27, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Only one per cent of organizations in Canada have the ‘Mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against modern cybersecurity risks, according to Cisco’s (NASDAQ: CSCO) 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index.

The 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index was developed in an era defined by hyperconnectivity and a rapidly evolving threat landscape. Companies today continue to be targeted with a variety of techniques that range from phishing and ransomware to supply chain and social engineering attacks. And while they are building defenses against these attacks, they still struggle to defend against them, slowed down by their own overly complex security postures that are dominated by multiple point solutions.

These challenges are compounded in today’s distributed working environments where data can be spread across limitless services, devices, applications, and users. However, 78 per cent of Canadian companies still feel moderately to very confident in their ability to defend against a cyberattack with their current infrastructure. This disparity between confidence and readiness suggests that companies may have misplaced confidence in their ability to navigate the threat landscape and may not be properly assessing the true scale of the challenges they face.

“We cannot underestimate the threat posed by our own overconfidence,” said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. “Today's organizations need to prioritize investments in integrated platforms and lean into AI in order to operate at machine scale and finally tip the scales in the favor of defenders.”

2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index: Underprepared and Overconfident Companies Tackle an Evolving Threat Landscape

The Index assesses the readiness of companies on five key pillars: Identity Intelligence, Network Resilience, Machine Trustworthiness, Cloud Reinforcement, and AI Fortification, which are comprised of 31 corresponding solutions and capabilities. It is based on a double-blind survey of more than 8,000 private sector security and business leaders across 30 global markets conducted by an independent third party. The respondents were asked to indicate which of these solutions and capabilities they had deployed and the stage of deployment. Companies were then classified into four stages of increasing readiness: Beginner, Formative, Progressive and Mature.

“The threats we face today will not be the same ones we face tomorrow so Canadian businesses need to evolve to keep up,” said Robert Barton, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Canada. “The material, financial and reputational consequences can have a serious impact on organizations so cybersecurity readiness must be a business priority, not just a technological one.”


Overall, the study found that only one per cent of companies in Canada are ready to tackle today’s threats, with 78 per cent of organizations falling into the Beginner or Formative stages of readiness. Globally, 3 per cent of companies are at a Mature stage. Further:

  • Future Cyber Incidents Expected: 63 per cent of respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. The cost of being unprepared can be substantial, as 43 per cent of respondents said they experienced a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 46 per cent of those affected said it cost them at least US$300,000.
  • Point Solution Overload: The traditional approach of adopting multiple cybersecurity point solutions has not delivered effective results, as 72 per cent of respondents admitted that having multiple point solutions slowed down their team’s ability to detect, respond and recover from incidents. This raises significant concerns as 62 per cent of organizations said they have deployed ten or more point solutions in their security stacks, while 17 per cent said they have 30 or more.​
  • Unsecure and Unmanaged Devices Add Complexity: 78 per cent of companies said their employees access company platforms from unmanaged devices​, and 33 per cent of those spend one-fifth (20 per cent) of their time logged onto company networks from unmanaged devices. ​Additionally, 20 per cent reported that their employees hop between at least six networks over a week.
  • The Cyber Talent Gap Persists: Progress is being further hampered by critical talent shortages, with 83 per cent of companies highlighting it as an issue. In fact, 35 per cent of companies said they had more than ten roles related to cybersecurity unfilled in their organization at the time of the survey.
  • Future Cyber Investments Ramping Up: Companies are aware of the challenge and are ramping up their defenses with 40 per cent planning to significantly upgrade their IT infrastructure in the next 12 to 24 months. This is a marked increase from just 25 per cent who planned to do so last year. Most prominently, organizations plan to upgrade existing solutions (67 per cent), deploy new solutions (53 per cent), and invest in AI-driven technologies (50 per cent). Further, 96 per cent of companies expect to increase their cybersecurity budget in the next 12 months, and 78 per cent of respondents say their budgets will increase by 10 per cent or more.

To overcome the challenges of today’s threat landscape, companies must accelerate meaningful investments in security, including adoption of innovative security measures and a security platform approach, strengthen their network resilience, establish meaningful use of generative AI, and ramp up recruitment to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.

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