Telecom Tops Other Sectors in Cisco Security Study

Confidence in security processes and practices is riding high among telecom industry executives, judging by the latest annual security report from Internet equipment giant Cisco.

A survey of some 1,738 CISOs and "SecOps" managers that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) carried out for the report showed that professionals in the telecom and energy sectors have far more confidence in security measures than peers in a range of other industries.

It appears that 62% of executives in the telecom and energy sectors "strongly" agreed their security processes were "optimized," compared with just 50% of those in financial services and 52% of employees in the government sector.

Cisco also found that professionals in the telecom and energy industries were a lot more sophisticated in terms of their security practices than employees elsewhere. Although it does not necessarily mean their organizations are more secure, energy companies had particularly well-documented processes and procedures for "incident tracking," said the equipment maker.

By contrast, security practices in the financial services and government sectors remain relatively unsophisticated, according to survey results.

Telecom executives also stood out as the group most likely to say the security infrastructure on which they rely is "up to date", with about one third of all survey respondents complaining they are not equipped with the "latest-and-greatest" tools, even though their security technologies are regularly upgraded.

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Cisco also classed nearly half (47%) of telecom organizations it studied as "highly sophisticated" on the basis of security processes -- more than in any other industry bar energy, which also scored 47%.

The laggards in that respect turned out to be chemical engineering, with just a quarter of organizations in this industry deemed highly sophisticated, and pharmaceuticals, which scored a slightly better but still disappointing 31%.

Security is becoming a critical issue for organizations of all shapes and sizes amid a recent increase in cyber crimes and concern about the impact of hacking attacks on company fortunes.

In a particularly high-profile case, an attack on Japan's Sony in November last year caused untold embarrassment for the company after commercially sensitive information found its way online.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

Phil_Britt 1/22/2015 | 11:41:48 AM
Re: What's in the glass? Mendyk is right. While 100% security is an unreachable nirvana, 47% isn't all that good when you think about it. That leaves plenty of room for hackers to operate.
pdonegan67 1/21/2015 | 1:39:22 PM
All good and all well and good This is good to hear. It's also all well and good  but....let's not forget that the outcome of our own survey of 144 service providers conducted for our Executive Summit in Iceland last December was that security emerged head and shoulders above other issues as easily the most important issue facing the telecom industry over the next five years. 

Security left other piping hot topic candidate issues like virtualization, next gen cloud services and the Internet of Things in the dust in terms of the importance that service providers attach to them.

The telecom service provider sector is no doubt very well placed relative to other sectors in the way it protects itself against cyber threats, as the new Cisco survey shows. But there's still a tremendous – increasing - amount of work to be done just to stand still in terms of keeping the disruptive impact and cost pressures associated with cyber threats down to today's generally lowish levels.

The arms race among the bad guys is only going to accelerate. The good guys have no choice but to respond. Moreover the direction of service provider networks in the coming years will churn up a whole slew of new security vulnerabilities that even some security experts are only just starting to think about planning solutions for.

Light Reading will be hosting a two-day Carrier Network Security Strategies conference on December 2nd and 3rd to help drive understanding of carrier security challenges and drive the carrier security ecosystem. We want to help ensure that the lead which our sector has is not just maintained but extended.

At Cisco's EMEA Analyst Relations event last week, Bret Hartman, CTO of Cisco's Security Business Group made clear that the company is not yet done with acquisitions in the security space, not by a long shot. He even raised a laugh too, stating "I'm paid to be paranoid." When you look at what happened to Sony Pictures, amen to that.
Mitch Wagner 1/21/2015 | 1:16:59 PM
False optimism? Just because they say they are very secure doesn't mean they are actually very secure.
mendyk 1/21/2015 | 12:28:10 PM
What's in the glass? 47% of telecom organizations have "highly sophisticated" security processes in place? The glass is almost half full!!!!
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