Most CEOs now see cybersecurity as more important than economic performance

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A growing number of CEOs are starting to realize that cyberattacks are a bigger existential threat than economic uncertainty, a new report from Palo Alto Networks has claimed

Based on a survey of 2,500 CEOs from the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Palo Alto found that CEOs fear what they don’t know, while many don’t even think they’re responsible for their organization’s cybersecurity posture. 

However, this hasn't led to a drop in confidence, as the majority believe they’re well-prepared for a cyberattack scenario.

Sleepless nights

The report found 51% of CEOS think that as the risks of cyberattacks rise rapidly, their ability to keep their firms' endpoints safe keeps them awake at night. 

The majority don’t even know what they’re up against, as roughly one in six (16%) feel they completely understand the risks their firms are facing. A fifth (21%) consider themselves wholly responsibly for their organization’s cybersecurity, while a quarter (24%) see it as the job of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), but they do see themselves as somewhat responsible, too. 

But the vast majority think they’re well prepared. Almost four in five (78%) are confident in their (complete and tested) plans for threat protection and recoverability, with 74% stating their firms can easily adapt to changing threats. At the same time, just a third (36%) would work with an incident response team in case of an attack, and 34% would pay the ransom in case of a ransomware attack. 

Cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agencies are vehemently against paying the ransom, and advocate the use of (possibly airgapped) backup solutions. Paying the ransom demand doesn’t guarantee the business will get their data back, and doesn’t guarantee they won’t get attacked (by the same, or a completely different threat actor) as soon as tomorrow. The only thing they’re doing is funding future ransomware operations and exacerbating the problem. Still, many firms do it because they see it as the fastest way to resume operations.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.