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NZ releases organisations’ cybersecurity resilience assessment

A benchmark assessment of cyber security resilience across nationally significant organisations in New Zealand was released by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

As reported, the GCSB’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) surveyed 250 organisations to establish their cyber security resilience and the potential impacts if they were to be compromised.

The first of its kind in New Zealand, the survey offers a useful benchmark for cyber security resilience across the country’s nationally significant organisations.

It seems that digital transformation is outpacing investment in cybersecurity and as a result, a range of resilience levels was found.

Although most of the organisations are moving towards the right direction, more work is needed to improve cyber resilience across the board.

Organisations should be optimistic about their ability to improve their security posture where they are able to take a strategic and systematic approach to it.

There are several committed cybersecurity professionals who are doing their best with limited resources.

Hopefully, this report will help them lift the cybersecurity dialogue within their organisations. This might be the catalyst that will drive the needed change.

One of the assessment’s key findings is that 19% of the organisations have a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer.

The remaining 81% either has it as part of a broader role or did not have the function.

In the past year, 73% of the organisations increased their spending on cyber security. However, this has not necessarily translated into increased confidence in their cyber security resilience.

Spending may have increased across all areas of cyber security, but a focus on tools and vulnerability assessment has come at the cost of investment in people.

As a result, 52% of the organisations reported they had insufficient skilled staff for their security requirements.

Levels of confidence in the ability to respond to cyber security incidents are not high, with 41 percent of organisations either mildly confident or not confident in their ability to detect an intrusion.

63% reported having a cyber security incident response plan. Of which, 33% had not tested that plan in the past year.

Of those organisations that use managed service providers, 36% have no way of confirming if the vendor is delivering on the agreed level of security.

Each organisation that participated in the survey has received an individualised and commercially sensitive report.

These reports provide a range of actions organisations can take to help increase their resilience.

Some of these actions are:

  1. Establishing clear accountability for cyber security
  2. Regular reporting on cyber security, including near misses, to executives and directors
  3. Balancing strategic investment in assets and staff over vulnerability assessment
  4. Identification of critical information assets and risks to those assets
  5. Having a dedicated budget line for IT security
  6. Preparing and regularly testing a cyber security incident response plan
  7. Ensuring third party vendors include specific cyber security service level agreements and the right to be audited on cyber security performance

The GCSB, through the NCSC, has committed to working with the less mature organisations to help raise their overall cyber security resilience.

Cybersecurity is a team sport and everyone needs to do their bit. In this interconnected world, everyone is just one click away from a potential threat.

For more details, the assessment report can be found here.


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