July 25, 2023,

Cyber Threat Readiness Report Reveals Alarming Misalignment Between Execs and Security Analysts

Global study finds 70% of cybersecurity executives think all alerts are being handled, starkly contrasting front-line roles that address alerts reporting only 36% are handled.

BOULDER, Colo. – July 25, 2023 – Swimlane, the low-code security automation company, today announced the release of the “2023 Cyber Threat Readiness Report” based on research conducted by Dimensional Research. The report reveals a lack of executive understanding and an ever-widening talent gap that is placing an unsustainable burden on security teams to prevent business-ending breaches.

Dimensional Research surveyed 1,005 security professionals and executives at enterprise companies with at least 5,000 employees and $600M in revenue. Respondents came from North and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The research investigated the perceptions of cybersecurity among on-the-ground security professionals and executives, the current trends in hiring and retaining talent and the effectiveness of tools leveraged to address today’s top cybersecurity challenges.

“Organizations across industries and around the globe are struggling to hire and keep qualified cybersecurity professionals who can effectively manage today’s threat landscape,” said James Brear, CEO of Swimlane.“ This, in addition to a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape and complex new threats brought on by generative AI, highlights the need for organizations to scale their defenses before it’s too late. We hope our research serves as a catalyst for discussion that paves the way for a new era of cybersecurity that strikes a balance between human expertise and technological advancements.”

A Top-Down Security Disparity

Despite increased cybersecurity discussions at the C-suite and boardroom level, a sharp juxtaposition has emerged between executives who believe that every security alert is being addressed and the teams on the ground addressing the alerts. Seventy percent of executives believe that all alerts are being handled by their security team, while only 36% of front-line roles responsible for managing alerts agree. The truth is only 58% of organizations are actually addressing every single alert.

While the use of automation is increasing in popularity to overcome these challenges, a notable disconnect also exists in understanding the security team’s skill set and available resources to adopt heavy-scripting automation tools. 87% of executives believe their security team possesses what it takes for successful adoption. In comparison, only 52% of front-line roles state they have enough experience to properly use this type of technology.

Struggle to Hire and Retain Talent Amplifies Risks

Respondents overwhelmingly indicated increased challenges in finding candidates with the right technical skills, experience, and industry-specific knowledge. Seventy percent of companies reported it takes longer to fill a cybersecurity role now than it did two years ago. When asked how long it takes to fill a cybersecurity role, 82% of organizations report it takes three months or longer, with 34% reporting it takes seven months or more. These challenges have led one-third (33%) of organizations to believe they will never have a fully-staffed security team with the proper skills.

The research also found that alarming levels of employee turnover and burnout pose a substantial risk to businesses, jeopardizing their operational stability and resilience. More than nine out of 10 participants (95%) report business issues resulting from security team turnover, including slower threat identification, response, and remediation, and the inability to address alerts.

The Implications of Cybersecurity Automation

The research findings highlighted that people alone can not solve the issues plaguing today’s cybersecurity teams. Organizations that are successfully meeting these challenges head-on are augmenting the expertise of the people on the security operations (SecOps) team with strategic technology investments. Over three-quarters, (78%) of organizations that handle every alert said they use low-code security automation in their security stack. Ninety-eight percent of participants said there were advantages to using security automation solutions that embrace low-code principles, such as the ability to scale the solution with the team’s experience with less reliance on coding skills.

According to Gartner®, “It is commonplace for SOAR technologies to offer low-code-like functionality. This makes programming and workflow improvements more accessible to all members of the security operations team even if they do not have a lot of programming experience. While SOAR continues to offer a lot of features for “power users,” these individuals can have broader responsibilities for automation across the organization. Power users can develop their own integrations and often reuse existing code/scripts. SOAR is then used to help build out more repeatable playbooks, allowing organizations to utilize this code based on the building blocks that already exist in the technology.”1

Swimlane’s Commitment to Help

To help pave the way forward for organizations grappling with the challenges outlined in the report, Swimlane today announced the availability of its Automation Readiness & Maturity of Orchestrated Resources (ARMOR) Framework. This first-of-its-kind standard for security automation maturity will help organizations of all sizes and industries understand, implement and mature security automation for better outcomes.

The online survey is free to any organization and requires approximately 10 minutes to complete. Upon submission, a security automation consultant will schedule a complimentary review of a tailored report detailing current security automation maturity and recommendations for up-leveling their strategies to align with industry best practices.

“We found that, unlike threat detection, there are limited frameworks in place for security automation,” said Cody Cornell, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Swimlane. “This inspired us to create a maturity model to help teams identify and overcome restraints to program implementation and improvement. Now, organizations will have a clear answer on whether or not they are ready for automation and how they should measure their programs for long-term success.”

Key Resources

  • Download the Cyber Threat Readiness Report
  • To learn more about ARMOR and take the free assessment, please visit swimlane.com/armor or Booth #1568 at Black Hat Aug. 5-10
  • Attend Swimlane’s Black Hat Session Aug. 10 at 10:20 a.m. PT in Business Hall Theater B

Security professionals and executives at enterprise companies with at least 5,000 employees and $600M in revenue were invited to participate in a survey on their company’s security practices. The survey was administered electronically, and participants were offered a token compensation for their participation. A total of 1,005 qualified participants completed the survey. All participants had enterprise security responsibilities from security roles on the frontline to executives. Participants were from 5 continents providing a global perspective.
1 Gartner, Market Guide for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response Solutions, Craig Lawson, Pete Shoard, June 23, 2023
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

About Swimlane

Swimlane is the leader in cloud-scale, low-code security automation. Swimlane unifies security operations in-and-beyond the SOC into a single system of record that helps reduce process and data fatigue, overcome chronic staffing shortages, and quantify business value. The Swimlane Turbine platform combines human and machine data into actionable intelligence for security leaders.  For more information, visit swimlane.com.

About Dimensional Research

Dimensional Research provides practical market research for technology companies. We partner with our clients to deliver actionable information that reduces risks, increases customer satisfaction, and grows the business. Our researchers are experts in the applications, devices, and infrastructure used by modern businesses and their customers. For more information, visit www.dimensionalresearch.com.

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