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The first edition of the new study looks at the impact the pandemic has had on cybersecurity officers.

Proofpoint this week released its inaugural 2021 Voice of the CISO report. The cybersecurity and compliance company said the study explores key challenges facing chief information security officers (CISOs). Thge release follows what Proofpoint calls an “unprecedented twelve months.”

According to their findings, sixty-six percent of CISOs feel their organization is unprepared to handle a cyberattack. Moreover, 58% consider human error to be their biggest cyber vulnerability. This proves that the work-from-home model necessitated by the pandemic has tested CISOs like never before, according to Proofpoint.

The Voice of the CISO report examines global third-party survey responses from more than 1,400 CISOs at mid to large size organizations across different industries. Throughout the course of Q1 2021, one hundred CISOs were interviewed in each market across 14 countries. Those countries included the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, UAE, Saudi Arabia (KSA), Australia, Japan, and Singapore.

Focusing on three key areas of cybersecurity post-COVID

The survey explores three key areas, Proofpoint said. These are the threat risk and types of cyber-attacks CISOs combat daily, the levels of employee and organizational preparedness to face them, and the impact of supporting a hybrid workforce. The latter concentration comes as businesses prepare to re-open their corporate offices. The study also covers the challenges CISOs face in their roles, position amongst the C-suite, and business expectations of their teams.

Lucia Milică, global resident CISO at Proofpoint, commented on the findings. “Last year, cybersecurity teams around the world were challenged to enhance their security posture in this new and changing landscape, literally overnight,” she said.

“This required a balancing act between supporting remote work and avoiding business interruption, while securing those environments. With the future of work becoming increasingly flexible, this challenge now extends into next year and beyond,” she added.

In addition to securing many more points of attack and educating users on long-term remote and hybrid work, CISOs must instill confidence among customers and internal stakeholders, Milică continued.

CISOs also need to build confidence in the market that such setups are indeed workable indefinitely, she said.