IT executives responsible for cybersecurity feel a lack of support from company leaders, and 33 percent of them feel completely isolated in their role, according to a new survey commissioned by cybersecurity solution vendor Trend Micro.

IT teams are under significant pressure, with some of the challenges cited including prioritising emerging threats (47 percent) and keeping track of a fractured security environment (43 percent).

The survey showed that they are feeling the weight of this responsibility, with many (34 percent) stating that the burden they are under has led their job satisfaction to decrease over the past 12 months.

“Company leaders must recognise that any individual responsible for cybersecurity will be feeling the strain,” said Bharat Mistry, Principal Security Strategist, Trend Micro. “As cyber-attacks increase in volume and sophistication, accountability needs to be shared. No business can afford for the IT function to be an island, because it will inevitably buckle. This means shifting the mindset from cybersecurity being a standalone initiative to a shared responsibility across an organisation.”

While 72 percent stated that cybersecurity is represented at the board level, many are still not benefitting from having a seat at the table, and the issue appears to be ineffective communication.

The survey showed that 44 percent struggle to translate complex threats to their organisation’s leadership, and 57 percent say internal communication is the biggest cybersecurity challenge for their business.

Respondents revealed that it often takes a prominent cyberattack to get their voice heard, with 64 percent saying communication becomes easier in the wake of a high-profile cyberattack like WannaCry. This raises the question of how IT teams can break down these communication barriers before an incident occurs.

“Taking a place in the boardroom is only step one,” said Mistry. “IT professionals need to find ways to communicate the value of having security expertise embedded across the breadth of the organisation. They could also strive to learn more from other business leaders about how they can better communicate risk, so they can make sure cybersecurity is front of mind in every department.”

About the research

Commissioned by Trend Micro, Opinium carried out a survey among 1,125 IT decision makers responsible for cybersecurity across the UK, the US, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and The Czech Republic.

Connectivity matters. For people who shape the digital transformation. What if you could discuss technology-related themes and their impact on business and society with your peers across different industries? So you could strengthen your beliefs – or have them challenged?

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