Company bosses must 'take the fall' for cyber failures

Cybercrime. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Cybercrime. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – South African chief executives should be held accountable for cyber breaches, a national survey of IT executives has found.

The survey conducted by VMware found that 35% of IT decision makers believe that C-level executives or corporate boards should be held accountable for cyber security lapses.

At least 16% of survey respondents agreed that top level executives pay enough attention to cyber security issues.

“The issue around accountability is symptomatic of the underlying challenges facing business as they seek to push boundaries, transform and differentiate, as well as secure the business against ever-changing threats,” said Matthew Kibby, regional director of VMware in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Previous research indicated that just 8% of corporate leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa consider cyber security as a key business priority.

Pressing challenges

READ: Here's how cyber crooks target company bosses

Security firm BDO recently found that many organisations in SA employ a firewall cyber protection strategy that could leave them vulnerable to serious data breaches.

“Cyber criminals constantly innovate their threat tactics to breach organisations and make off with valuable data. As cybercrime evolves, we see increased innovation in the hacking tools and techniques used to evade known security mechanisms,” said Graham Croock, director of IT Audit, Risk and Cyber Lab at BDO South Africa.

According to Trend Micro, cyber crooks have ramped their efforts to attack companies by impersonating chief executives 31% of the time in sophisticated spear phishing scams.

The VMware survey found that 16% of IT decision makers expect their organisations to be victims of cybercrime within days.

These corporate professionals said that lack of budget and untrained or careless staff were the most pressing challenges in dealing with cyber security.

READ: SA business 'unprepared' for cybercrime

Despite 47% of employees being allowed to use their own mobile device, 42% of IT executives are aware that these devices may be hacked, the survey found.

“Security is not just about technology. As the research shows, the decisions and behaviours of people will impact the integrity of a business. Smart organisations enable, do not restrict their employees allowing them to thrive, as well as adapt processes and transform operations to succeed,” said Kibby.


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