In my last post, I talked about some of the findings of our recent global Accenture Security survey:1

  • One in three respondents focused attacks results in a breach
  • Internal attacks have a major impact
  • Security teams admit they lack the necessary tools to detect breaches

Yet, despite these facts:2

  • Three out of four respondents expressed confidence in their cybersecurity abilities
  • Seventy percent said their organizations have completely embedded cybersecurity into their cultures, and that it is a board-level concern supported by their top executives

To untangle these risky contradictions, organizations should reboot their approaches to cybersecurity. Protecting a company requires an integrated approach that considers threats across the spectrum of the industry-specific value chain and the company’s ecosystem, identifying and minimizing business exposure and focusing on protecting priority assets.

We have put together the following steps that can help organizations overcome limited perceptions and deal effectively with the high-impact threats they face.

Define cybersecurity success

Organizations should reframe their perceptions of cybersecurity and build a new definition of success. We believe security organizations need to improve the alignment of their cybersecurity strategies with business imperatives. In addition, security programs should be strengthened to enhance their ability to detect and prevent advanced attack scenarios.

Pressure-test security capabilities

Organizations should establish a realistic assessment of their capabilities to protect against high-impact threats, whether internal or external. Pressure-testing company defenses can help leaders understand whether they can withstand a targeted, focused attack. To assess preparedness and response effectiveness, organizations can engage “white-hat” external hackers for attack simulation for a realistic assessment of internal capabilities.

Protect from the inside out

Many organizations fail to limit internal access to key information, monitor for unusual employee network activities or regularly review access. By prioritizing energy on these key assets, organizations can build a more effective cybersecurity foundation: instead of attempting to anticipate a seemingly infinite variety of external breach possibilities, organizations can concentrate on the relatively fewer internal incursions that have the greatest impact.

Keep innovating

Invest in state-of-the-art programs that enable outmaneuvering adversaries vs. investing more in existing programs.

Make security everyone’s job

According to the Accenture Security survey, of the breaches not detected by security team members, 98 percent are found by employees.3 Thus, organizations need to prioritize training for all employees and continually refresh cyber talent across the business.

Lead from the top

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) should materially engage with enterprise leadership and make the case that cybersecurity is a critical priority in protecting company value.

Organizations need to innovate continually to stay ahead of potential hackers, which may require redirecting some resources to new strategies and programs rather than investing more in current programs. In my next post, I will discuss the areas for investments that will let companies continue to innovate and outmaneuver.

To learn more, download the full Building Confidence—Facing the Cybersecurity Conundrum report.



  1. “Building Confidence – Facing the Cybersecurity Conundrum,” Accenture, 2017. Access at:
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid

Dr. Christian Tölkes

Managing Director, Technology Consulting Lead Financial Services Austria, Switzerland & Germany

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