Executives Take Note, White House Budget Boosts Cybersecurity Spend

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Cybersecurity doesn’t care If you’re a private or public sector entity. For both types of organizations, It’s a huge priority.

By Stefanie McCann, Editor, Connected Futures

President Obama just released his FY 2017 budget, and at the top of his list? Increased funding for cybersecurity.

This comes as no surprise. Cybersecurity creates anxiety for all executives. Whether you’re running a country as large as the U.S. or running an organization in retail, manufacturing, financial services, or any industry. 

According to a recent study conducted by Cisco, 48 percent of executives are “very concerned” about the potential for cybersecurity breaches today.

It seems President Obama is just as concerned. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the president asked for a 35 percent increase for cybersecurity spending in FY 2017. This adds up to $19 billion—$5 billion above the current budget.

Part of that spend is a $3.1 billion proposal to overhaul the federal government’s aging computer systems, which suffered unprecedented theft as recently as 2014.

Case in point? More than 22 million American security records were stolen by attackers based in China. Unfortunately, the Office of Personnel Management was storing these highly sensitive records on aging computer systems.

The culprits were in the government system for more than a year. Undetected.

When an attack like this happens, the costs go far beyond those of the initial breach. This goes for government and private sector alike.

“Our biggest concern with cybersecurity breaches is not as much the direct financial impact as the indirect,” said the CFO of a major U.S. retailer. “What if customers decide that we're not worthy of their trust and they stay away?”

But wait. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Based on detailed economic analysis of 350 private sector use cases, Cisco estimates that cybersecurity will drive $5.3 trillion in Digital Value at Stake across private sector industries over the next decade.

Most of that ($3.6 trillion) is dependent upon organizations’ abilities to improve cybersecurity practices to drive innovation and growth.

Companies lacking the proper cybersecurity practices will experience slower adoption of digital capabilities, resulting in smaller realization of their potential digital benefits.

“Evolving from thinking of cybersecurity as a necessary evil to thinking of it as a strategic advantage sets you apart,” said a senior executive from a global 100 bank.

In fact, a tight connection exists between cybersecurity and business growth.

According to Sandra Ng, GVP, practice group, IDC/Asia Pacific, “Not many board of directors today are fully aware of security implications and the options out there.”

Those who turn cybersecurity into a business opportunity by improving cybersecurity practices to drive innovation and growth could stand to benefit from the $5.9 trillion of value at stake across private and public sectors over the next decade.

To maximize digital value, organizations must make cybersecurity a foundational component of their digital strategies.

For example, according to the same Cisco study, 37 percent of respondents are currently building cybersecurity into new offerings and business processes before they start their digital journeys.

“Innovations are moving forward, but probably at 70 to 80 percent of what they otherwise could if there were better tools to deal with the dark cloud of cybersecurity threats,” said the CFO of a major U.S. airline.

The White House seems to agree that more tools are needed, thus raising the bar on cybersecurity spending. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the continued spotlight on our universal need to improve cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is essential to digital success, with potential to fuel an estimated $5.3 trillion in private sector Value at Stake over the next decade. For more information, read the full report.