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Deloitte Survey: Cyber Threats Emerge Due to COVID-19, Disrupt US Orgs

Approximately 98 percent of U.S. executives reported at least one cyber event between August 2020 and August 2021, according to the "Future of Cyber Survey" conducted by Deloitte, which operates a Top 250 MSSP. In addition, 86 percent of these executives said their organizations faced an increased number of cyber threats due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Deloitte's survey findings from U.S. executives included:

  • U.S. executives cited operational disruption (28 percent) as the biggest fallout from cyber incidents or breaches, followed by share price drop (24 percent), leadership change (23 percent), intellectual property theft (22 percent) and loss of customer trust (22 percent).
  • These executives said increases in data management, perimeter and complexities (38 percent) were the biggest obstacles they faced as they try to implement organization-wide cybersecurity management programs, followed by an inability to match rapid technology changes (35 percent) and a need for better prioritization of cyber risk across the enterprise (31 percent).
  • They indicated the unintended actions of well-meaning employees (28 percent) was the cyber threat that they are "most concerned about," followed by phishing, malware and ransomware (27 percent).

The survey also provided insights into how global executives approach cybersecurity, such as:

  • Data protection (53 percent for U.S. executives and 43 percent for non-U.S. executives) and data privacy (41 percent for U.S. executives and 42 percent for non-U.S. executives) are the top-ranked security projects for executives.
  • Cloud environment visibility around workloads and applications protection was the top cloud security concern for executives polled (34 percent for U.S. executives and 27 percent for non-U.S. executives).
  • U.S. executives are most likely to turn to their organization's disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) solutions to address data destruction attacks (43 percent). Comparatively, non-U.S. executives are most likely to leverage specific backup or DR solutions or BC plans to mitigate these attacks.

Analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies can help global executives combat cyber threats, said Deborah Golden, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory Cyber and Strategic Risk leader and principal. These technologies can mitigate vulnerabilities that employees, vendors or others can unintentionally create in organizational systems.

Furthermore, global executives can adopt cyber programs and zero trust frameworks to improve their security posture, Golden noted. In doing so, they can ensure that their organizations can minimize risk and foster trust with their employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.