Gartner Predicts 40% of Boards Will Have a Dedicated Cybersecurity Committee by 2025

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The FINANCIAL — Board Directors Rate Cybersecurity Second-Highest Source of Risk for the Enterprise, says new analysis by Gartner. By 2025, 40% of boards of directors will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member, up from less than 10% today, according to Gartner, Inc.

This is one of several organizational changes Gartner expects to see at the board, management and security team level, in response to greater risk created by the expanded digital footprint of organizations during the pandemic.

According to the Gartner 2020 Board of Directors Survey*, cybersecurity-related risk is rated as the second-highest source of risk for the enterprise, following regulatory compliance risk. However, relatively few directors feel confident that their company is properly secured against a cyberattack.

“To ensure that cyber risk receives the attention it deserves, many boards of directors are forming dedicated committees that allow for discussion of cybersecurity matters in a confidential environment, led by someone deemed suitably qualified,” said Sam Olyaei, research director at Gartner. “This change in governance and oversight is likely to impact the relationship between the board and the chief information security officer (CISO).”

While CISOs should experience more scrutiny as a result, they are also likely to receive more support and resources, according to Gartner. CISOs must expect executive conversations to shift away from performance and health-related discussions to risk-oriented and value-driven exercises.

Gartner also predicts that by 2024, 60% of CISOs will establish critical partnerships with key executives in sales, finance and marketing, up from less than 20% today.

“Effective CISOs realize that heads of sales, marketing and business unit leaders are now key partners as the use of technology and, subsequently, the incurrence of risk happens outside of IT,” said Mr. Olyaei.

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According to the Gartner CISO Effectiveness Index, top-performing CISOs regularly meet with three times as many non-IT stakeholders as they do IT stakeholders; and they meet with them more frequently than bottom performers.

Cyber, physical and supply chain security converge

For asset-intensive enterprises such as utilities, manufacturers and transportation networks, security threats targeting cyber-physical systems present an increasing risk to the organization.

Bad actors increasingly target weaknesses wherever they are, as demonstrated by the surge in ransomware affecting organizations’ operational systems and recent supply chain attacks.

The siloed nature of today’s security disciplines then becomes its own risk and a liability to the organization, and the IT-centric focus of most security teams needs to expand to include threats in the physical world.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50% of asset-intensive organizations will converge their cyber, physical and supply chain security teams under one chief security officer role that reports directly to the CEO.

Remote work can improve access to IT security talent

Gartner research conducted pre-COVID-19 found that 61% of organizations surveyed were struggling to find and hire security professionals.

“As organizations shifted to remote working in response to the pandemic, it proved that some, if not all, security capabilities could be delivered remotely,” said Richard Addiscott, senior research director at Gartner. “This includes security monitoring/operations, policy development, security governance and reporting, security awareness, and incident response via dispersed teams. Cybersecurity teams can work remotely and still provide effective capabilities.”

As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 30% of all security teams will have increased the number of employees working remotely on a permanent basis.

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Gartner recommends that security and risk leaders consider adapting their operating models and expand their job advertising to gain access to candidates residing outside of their organization’s traditional recruitment geographies.

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