Forcepoint conducted its survey in conjunction with WSJ Intelligence, a division of the Wall Street Journal. The survey covered 508 global CEOs and CISOs. All US respondents were from companies with over one billion dollars in revenue, and 42% of APAC and European respondents came from companies with $500 million to $999 million in revenue. The survey was conducted from December 2020 to January 2021. The research has been published as The C-Suite Report: Business and Security Strategies for Today’s Unbound Enterprise.
The research delivered these key findings:
- 90% of CEOs have either already adopted Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) (43%) or are currently evaluating SASE with a view to adopt (47%) while 39% have accelerated their adoption of Zero Trust architectures
- 74% of organisations reallocated funds to cybersecurity programs during COVID-19
- 58% of leaders recognised the need for a more integrated trust framework
- 53% recognised the need to more tightly integrate cybersecurity capabilities across traditional product boundaries
- 48% reported cybersecurity’s bigger role in enabling innovation
- 45% stated they have greatly accelerated digital transformation as a result of the pandemic
- 41% saw cybersecurity as delivering a competitive edge
The research identified enterprise leaders who previously viewed cybersecurity as part of traditional infrastructure have shifted to rapidly invest in integrated, cloud-based approaches, with ripple effects on innovation, distributed workforce security and competitive advantages.
Even before COVID-19 the "unbound enterprise" - operations freed from physical or network infrastructures - was emerging. The pandemic accelerated this trend and while some changes made during 2020 were tactical, the result is a significant shift in perception with far-reaching consequences. Forcepoint’s research indicates leaders now see cybersecurity as the key to business advantage.
“Industry leaders are emphatically pointing to a very different future for cybersecurity,” said Nicolas Fischbach, global CTO and vice president of SASE engineering at Forcepoint. “When 90% of leaders believe the biggest challenge is securing anywhere workers and cloud services, it’s clear that infrastructure- or access-oriented security tools can no longer keep up with the needs of today’s unbound enterprise.”
While cloud-driven approaches will offer huge advantages as remote workers innovate and drive business with autonomy, but means organisations must find new ways to secure their distributed workforces and cloud applications, without inhibiting collaboration and creativity.
“As enterprises operate their business in a world with seemingly endless options, cybersecurity professionals will need to evolve their roles,” commented Elizabeth Nann, Executive Director of Global Consumer Insights at Wall Street Journal Intelligence. “The research showed that CISOs adapted existing strategy, while the pandemic has really opened the eyes and changed the views of CEOs. This suggests that teams now better understand the importance of an integrated security framework with the agility to adapt to a continuously evolving environment – but not everyone has that in place yet.”