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As the world becomes more connected and technology more ubiquitous, securing networks, systems, and informational assets becomes a priority for any technology-driven business. However, despite spending a significant amount of time, resources, and money on strengthening defenses against security risks, cybersecurity attacks continue to become more frequent and intense.

According to the CSO, costs resulting from cybersecurity attacks are expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2013. On the other hand, cybersecurity spend is also expected to reach $1 trillion in 2012, compared to $80 billion in 2016[1]. The increasing cost of cybersecurity attacks despite heavy investment in cyber defense technologies can be attributed to two causes — the increasingly destructive nature of malware and the outdated skill set of cybersecurity professionals.

In recent years, the sophistication of tactics used by cyber criminals has outpaced the ability of security professionals to anticipate and address these threats. According to a survey of cybersecurity professionals conducted by the Herjavec Group, 62% of professionals do not feel confident about their organization’s overall security system, while 45% consider lack of skilled personnel the biggest obstacle to stronger cybersecurity[2].

While talent gaps remain a primary obstacle to stronger defense, solving the growing cybersecurity problem requires more than just skilled professionals. With security attacks getting more aggressive with each passing day, businesses should get security on the agenda in the boardroom and treat it as an issue of strategic importance. To combat the risk and avoid the repercussions of a security attack, organizations must use a combination of people, advanced analytics, and more robust architecture to anticipate, mitigate, and manage cybersecurity risks.

In addition, cybersecurity threats have evolved in nature and scope over the past few years. Traditionally, cyber criminals used to target the databases and networks of small- and medium-sized businesses primarily. However, in recent years, there have been many high profile cases involving leading companies like JP Morgan, HBO, Sony, and Ashley Madison to name a few. All companies, regardless of their size and the industry they operate in, must rethink their security strategy and invest in the skills of their employees in order to avoid the financial and reputational risks associated with a data breach.

Allen Austin understands the grave consequences associated with a cybersecurity attack and we help our clients avoid them by finding top-level executives who have an understanding of the evolving security threats and risks. We use our proven methodical approach towards executive search and leadership development to help organizations find candidates who bring a strategic mindset to the table and develop a robust strategy to transform security from a cost center to a growth center.

[1] Top 5 Cybersecurity Facts, Figures, and Statistics for 2017

[2] Cybersecurity Trends – 2017 Spotlight Report

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