In India, just 24 per cent of companies are at the mature level of cybersecurity readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks, according to Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index.

Although the country’s performance is above the global average of 15 per cent for cybersecurity readiness, the number is still low, given the risks, the report noted.

The report evaluates five core pillars that form the baseline of required defenses: identity, devices, network, application workloads, and data, and encompasses 19 different solutions within the pillars. Companies were classified into four stages of increasing readiness: beginner, formative, progressive, and mature.

About 38 per cent of companies in India fall into the beginner or formative stages. Moreover, 90 per cent of respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months, while 80 per cent of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 53 per cent of those affected said it cost them at least $500,000.

“Organizations have moved from an operating model that was largely static to a hybrid world, which presents new and unique cybersecurity challenges. In this environment, understanding how organizations are preparing to deal with these new challenges is critical. The Index has been built with a focus on five core pillars of identity, devices, network, applications, and data, and examines organizational postures in securing these,” said Vish Iyer, Vice President, Architectures, Cisco APJC.

Five security pillars

Readiness across the five key pillars: Identity—35 organizations are ranked mature; Devices—has the highest percentage of companies in the mature stage at 39 per cent; Network Security-- 26 per cent of organizations are in the beginner or formative stages; Application Workloads-- 51 per cent of organizations in the Beginner or formative stages; Data-31 per cent of companies are in the mature stage.

“These five pillars need to be protected with a mix of point tools and integrated platforms to achieve security resilience while reducing complexity. Only then will businesses be able to close the cybersecurity readiness gap.”

The report suggests establishing a baseline of readiness across the five security pillars to build secure and resilient organizations. This need is especially critical given that 95 per cent of the respondents plan to increase their security budgets by at least 10 percent over the next 12 months. By establishing a base, organizations can build on their strengths and prioritize the areas where they need more maturity and resilience.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses as they continue their digitization journey. With hybrid work becoming the mainstay and services being application-driven, it is critical that organizations close the security readiness gap,” said Samir Mishra, Director, Security Business Group, Cisco India & SAARC.

The index has been developed against the backdrop of a post-COVID, hybrid world, where users and data must be secured wherever work gets done. An independent third-party conducted the double-blind survey, which asked 6,700 private sector cybersecurity leaders across 27 markets to indicate which of these solutions they had deployed and the stage of deployment.