ESG's new research report, "Assessing Cyber Supply Chain Security Vulnerabilities Within the U.S. Critical Infrastructure," is based upon data gathered from a survey of 285 security professionals working at organizations that operate in the 18 industries designated as "critical infrastructure" by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The report, co-sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and other IT vendors, found that 68 percent of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed have experienced at least one security breach in the past 24 months, and 13 percent suffered more than three security breaches in the past 24 months.
Twenty percent of respondents working at critical infrastructure organizations rated the effectiveness of their organization's security policies, procedures and technology safeguards as either "fair" or "poor."
Meanwhile, 71 percent of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed believe that the security threat landscape will grow worse in the next 24-36 months, and 26 percent believe it will be "much worse."
The research also focused specifically on the cyber supply chain policies, processes and technical safeguards used by critical infrastructure organizations. The ESG report uncovered that only a small subset of the critical infrastructure organizations surveyed employ cyber supply chain security best practices, and ESG concludes therefore that many of these firms face an increased risk of a cyber supply chain attack that could impact business operations and service delivery to the public.
"This report highlights that many critical infrastructure organizations can immediately benefit by adopting basic cyber security and supply chain security best practices" said Jon Oltsik, principal analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group and author of this research report.
Oltsik said that most organizations surveyed were not doing adequate security due diligence on the IT vendors that provide them with products and services. "They haven't instituted secure software development lifecycles across their enterprises, and they don't have a set of security requirements for third-party business partners with whom they share IT systems," he said. "These weaknesses create a real vulnerability and need to be addressed as soon as possible."
Chris Whitener, chief security strategist at HP, said that companies should be able to feel confident in the security of the products they deploy within their data centers. "This report demonstrates a strong client desire for secure processes throughout the supply chain, ensuring the integrity of the IT products that are developed," he said.
Whitener added that, based on the findings from this report, HP already is identifying additional security tests that can be performed during development and QA using HP capabilities like Fortify and the HP Comprehensive Applications Threat Analysis service.
Survey respondents were also asked for their input on the cybersecurity role of the US Federal Government. A vast majority (71 percent) of respondents believe that the Federal Government should be more active with cybersecurity strategies and defenses, and 31 percent believe that that the government should be significantly more active. Respondents suggested that the Federal Government should engage in actions like doing a better job of sharing security information and providing incentives like tax credits to organizations that invest in cybersecurity.
"The report clearly indicates that critical infrastructure organizations are vulnerable to attacks and expect help from the Federal Government," Oltsik said. "I can only hope that this report encourages greater public/private dialogue on cybersecurity and accelerates Federal Government action."
The report is available for download here.
See also the article "WikiLeaks - Supply Chain Edition, Part I."
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