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Deloitte study finds top tech, media, and telecom firms to strengthen cyber resilience through strategic security initiatives

2013 TMT Global Security Study

Survey cites third party risks as top concern, yields confidence in cyber security despite threats in 2012

8 January 2013 — Executives at the world’s largest Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) companies have replaced compliance with implementing a 2013 security strategy and roadmap as the number one driver for improving information security, according to the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) TMT Global Security Study released today. The study also reveals that companies are starting to recognize information security to be a fundamental business issue, with companies increasingly focused on cyber resilience, not just security.

The survey, which also identified lack of employee awareness and third party risks as top security vulnerabilities, suggests that TMT organizations should also invest in information security training and awareness for their employees to help mitigate risks from new technologies.

“The question is not if you will be attacked: the question is when and how you will respond,” said Jacques Buith, DTTL Global TMT Security and Resilience Leader. “Effective management of information security risks requires a robust combination of prevention, early detection, and rapid response. Being cyber resilient is just as, or even more, important than being cyber secure alone.”

Partnering for cyber resilience
Additionally, results of the study suggest overconfidence in protection against external threats, with 88 percent of executives not viewing their company as vulnerable. However, when pressed further, more than half of the executives acknowledged experiencing a security threat in the last year. Further, less than half of survey respondents reported having a response plan in place to address a security breach and only 30 percent believe third-parties are shouldering enough responsibility for cyber security. Also, 74 percent of the 121 executives surveyed rate security breaches at third parties as one of their top three threats followed by denial of service attacks and employee errors and omissions.

“Every organization is vulnerable and 100 percent prevention does not exist. To help prevent attacks, detection and response are necessary. Ultimately, the public and private sector need to engage in a deeper collaboration in 2013 across all TMT sectors to develop a more robust response effort,” said Buith. “Organizations should not only work with their third-party business partners to understand and improve their security practices, they should also engage policymakers, regulators and enforcement agencies and be willing to share their sensitive information to help address the global issue of cyber risk.”

Other major threats identified by respondents include advanced persistent threats (64 percent) and hacktivism (63 percent), new to this survey, which combines social or political activism with hacking. While more than half of those surveyed gather general intelligence information, only 39 percent gather information about targeted attacks specific to their organization, industry, brand or customers.

People, technology and mobile devices
According to the survey, innovations in technology and the people using these technologies also rank as one of the biggest threats, with 70 percent listing their employees’ lack of security awareness as an “average” or “high” vulnerability. Employees without sufficient awareness of security issues may put an organization at risk by talking about work in public, responding to phishing emails, admitting unauthorized people into the organization’s facilities.

Additionally, the study finds that new technologies exacerbate the problem. While they can provide powerful new capabilities that may benefit the business, they also introduce new security risks at a faster pace than many organizations can handle. Seventy-four percent of the executives ranked the mobile and bring-your-own-device technology trend as a continued concern but only half of the organizations surveyed indicated that they have specific policies for mobile devices in place.

About the DTTL TMT Global Security Study
The goal of the DTTL TMT Global Security study is to provide TMT companies with insight into the security and privacy challenges and threats that they currently face or will face as an industry. The study is developed based on the results of interviews with security executives of 121 TMT organizations from 38 different countries representing every geographic region. The study surveyed participants from all three TMT sectors and with respondents spanning the full range of revenue categories.

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