Cisco Study Highlights India's Cybersecurity Readiness Challenges

Cisco says that companies are aware of the challenge and are ramping up their defenses with 71% planning to significantly upgrade their IT infrastructure in the next 12 to 24 months

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A recent study conducted by technology giant Cisco Systems has unveiled significant gaps in the cybersecurity readiness of organizations across India. The 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index by Cisco indicates that merely 4% of companies in the country have attained the level of readiness required to effectively combat modern cybersecurity threats.


In an age characterized by hyperconnectivity and an ever-evolving threat landscape, organizations face a barrage of cyberattacks ranging from phishing and ransomware to sophisticated supply chain infiltrations and social engineering ploys. Despite efforts to bolster their defenses, many organizations find themselves struggling to thwart these threats, hampered by overly complex security infrastructures dominated by disparate point solutions.

The study underscores the challenges exacerbated by today's distributed work environments, where data sprawls across diverse services, devices, applications, and user profiles. Alarmingly, while 88% of surveyed companies express moderate to high confidence in their ability to fend off cyberattacks with their existing infrastructure, the actual readiness level suggests a stark disparity, potentially indicating misplaced confidence in navigating the prevailing threat landscape.

The 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index evaluates companies based on five key pillars: Identity Intelligence, Network Resilience, Machine Trustworthiness, Cloud Reinforcement, and AI Fortification, comprising 31 corresponding solutions and capabilities. Drawing insights from a double-blind survey encompassing more than 8,000 private sector security and business leaders across 30 global markets, the index classifies companies into four stages of readiness: Beginner, Formative, Progressive, and Mature.


Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco, cautioned against underestimating the threat posed by overconfidence. Patel emphasized the imperative for organizations to prioritize investments in integrated platforms and leverage AI capabilities to operate at machine scale, thus empowering defenders against evolving threats.

Samir Kumar Mishra, Director of Security Business at Cisco India & SAARC, stressed the necessity for organizations to augment their cybersecurity investments and adopt an integrated platform approach to fortify critical pillars and narrow the security readiness gap. Mishra advocated for the seamless integration of AI into frontline defenses as a strategic imperative to fortify organizations' resilience in a digitally-driven world.

The study's findings reveal a sobering reality: only 4% of Indian organizations are equipped to confront contemporary cybersecurity challenges, with a staggering 82% of respondents anticipating cyber incidents likely to disrupt their operations in the coming 12 to 24 months. Moreover, the costs incurred due to unpreparedness are substantial, with 74% of respondents reporting cybersecurity incidents in the past year, costing at least US$300,000 for 55% of those affected.


The proliferation of multiple point solutions emerges as a significant concern, with 88% of respondents acknowledging that such approaches impede their teams' ability to detect, respond, and recover from incidents. Moreover, the prevalence of unsecured and unmanaged devices adds layers of complexity, with 92% of companies acknowledging employees accessing company platforms from unmanaged devices.

Further compounding the challenge is the persistent cyber talent gap, with 91% of companies citing critical shortages in cybersecurity roles. As a response, organizations are gearing up their defenses, with 71% planning significant upgrades to their IT infrastructure in the next 12 to 24 months. Notably, investments in AI-driven technologies are on the rise, with 99% of companies expecting an increase in their cybersecurity budgets over the next year.

To surmount the evolving threat landscape, organizations must accelerate investments in security measures, embrace innovative approaches, bolster network resilience, leverage AI capabilities effectively, and prioritize recruitment to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.