CEOs, CISOs double down on cybersecurity, converged approaches

Enterprise leaders who previously viewed cybersecurity as part of traditional infrastructure have shifted to rapidly invest in integrated, cloud-based approaches, according to Forcepoint.

In a report prepared jointly with Wall Street Journal Intelligence, Forcepoint said the pandemic accelerated the emergence of the “unbound enterprise,” with operations freed from physical or network infrastructures.

Sponsored by Forcepoint conducted by WSJ Intelligence from December 2020 to January 2021, the report is based on a quantitative survey of 508 global CEOs and CISOs from industries including healthcare/life science, finance and retail.

Findings show that leaders now see cybersecurity as the key to business advantage with 45% stating they have greatly accelerated digital transformation as a result of the pandemic.

Also, 48% said that cybersecurity’s bigger role in enabling innovation and 41% agreed that it delivers a competitive edge.

“Industry leaders are emphatically pointing to a very different future for cybersecurity,” said Nick Savvides, senior director of strategic business at Forcepoint Asia Pacific. 

“When 90% of leaders believe the biggest challenge is securing anywhere workers and cloud services, it’s clear that infrastructure- or access-oriented security tools can no longer keep up with the needs of today’s unbound enterprise,” said Savvides.

Findings also showed that decentralised organisations will develop, with 48% substantially increasing the use of cloud-based cybersecurity systems and 58% recognizing the need for a more integrated trust framework. 

Further, 90% of CEOs have either already adopted SASE (43%) or are currently evaluating SASE with a view to adopt (47%) while 39% have accelerated their adoption of Zero Trust architectures.

“As enterprises operate their business in a world with seemingly endless options, cybersecurity professionals will need to evolve their roles,” said Elizabeth Nann, executive director of global consumer insights at WSJ Intelligence.

“The research showed that CISOs adapted existing strategy, while the pandemic has really opened the eyes and changed the views of CEOs,” said Nann.

Additionally, findings show that cybersecurity is now permanently in the boardroom as 74% said they reallocated of respondents funds to cybersecurity programs during COVID-19. 

Also, 58% see a need for an integrated “Trust Framework” to accommodate dispersion of users and devices.

While analysts have estimated 40% of enterprises would embrace SASE by 2024, 90% of CEOs and 84% of CISOs in the survey indicated they have already adopted or were on a path to adopt SASE.