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Security key in 2015 as Kiwi businesses await cyber attacks

New Zealand business professionals, along with their Australian counterparts, feel that a security breach is imminent in 2015, with 61 per cent expecting a cyberattack this year.

New Zealand business professionals, along with their Australian counterparts, feel that a security breach is imminent in 2015, with 61 per cent expecting a cyberattack this year.

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

According to the security firm, this is concerning, since less than half of ANZ IT professionals (43 per cent) say they are prepared, likely due to a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel.

Alarmingly, more than 85 per cent of ANZ members surveyed believe there is a shortage of skilled cyber security professionals, and similarly 85 per cent 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 and Governance Advisory Practice Lead at Vital Interacts, based in Sydney.

"Given the latest news of a large Australian travel insurance company being hacked, we expect the problem is set to increase.

"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."

Echoing Barnes' statement, Robert E Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, international president of ISACA and vice president of strategy and innovation at CA Technologies, says ISACA supports increased discussion and activity to address escalating high-profile cyberattacks on organisations worldwide.

“As government leaders call for action, we hope they take a clear and straight-forward approach, working in close coordination with industry," he adds.

"Cyber security is everyone’s business, and creating a workforce trained to prevent and respond to today’s sophisticated attacks is a critical priority.”

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Globally speaking...

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 per cent 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 per cent 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," Barnes adds.

"That is why we launched the Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) in 2014. We take very seriously our role in addressing the skills gap through skills-based credentials, training, guidance and mentoring programs."

When recruiting skilled staff, Barnes says companies must have a realistic understanding of what they can do well and what they cannot in cybersecurity.

As a result, he suggests that CIOs, CISOs and security leaders must revisit the organisational structure and skills of their security teams and IT staffs that have any responsibility for securing information assets.

This analysis involves a deep review of what currently are or can be core competencies for the organisation, and where they might need help from outsiders.

Barnes adds that the cybersecurity plan also 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 explains.

"It is only through this analysis can the right cybersecurity program be designed and implemented where budget, skills, intensity and performance all are balanced at the appropriate levels."