Monthly Archives: August 2020

Security systems developer Vanderbilt joins Euralarm

The Board of Directors at Euralarm has welcomed Vanderbilt as the newest member of the long-standing and influential association of European security and fire safety solution manufacturers, installers and service providers, with the security systems developer joining the Security Section. The latter represents companies involved with CCTV, intruder alarms and access control and serves as a key stakeholder in organisations such as CertAlarm, CEN-CENELEC, IEC and, indeed, the European Commission.

The Security Section collaborates on a regular basis in a bid to find security solutions in what is now a digitised and somewhat challenging world. Section meetings feature recognised experts offering presentations on topics such as the standardisation landscape within the video surveillance market.

Importantly, the Security Section liaises with key standardisation groups in the security field and closely follows technological developments with a view towards guiding regulation and standardisation. In terms of standards, the Security Section informs member companies of changes and advocacy activities at both the national and European Union (EU) levels.

Being a member of Euralarm, Vanderbilt will enjoy access to the extended network of national associations and major companies in the electronic fire safety and security sectors. Membership of Euralarm will realise opportunities for both parties as it also strengthens the association.

Vanderbilt is a global provider of high-performance security systems for access control and intrusion detection. The business is recognised for its future-proof, innovative and easy-to-use portfolio that contains access control systems including the ACT365 and ACT Enterprise and the popular SPC and SPC Connect intruder detection solutions.

A strong advocate of open platforms and system integration, Vanderbilt (itself an ACRE brand) understands the issues customers face and provides multiple solutions that are designed to meet these needs.

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Expertise on markets and opportunities

Companies joining Euralarm benefit from a unique insight into what is happening in European markets and the opportunities they might offer. They can not only tap into the political expertise and understanding that underpins EU policy, but also make personal connections with technical and political experts as well as potential business partners.

Euralarm members have their voice heard in Brussels and can actively support and direct standardisation and legislative processes.

Founded back in 1970, Euralarm now represents over 5,000 companies within the fire safety and security industry valued at 67 billion Euros. The membership comprises national associations and individual companies from across the European region.

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TDSi expands logistics team to support customer needs during COVID-19 restrictions

Integrated security systems manufacturer TDSi has announced the appointment of Keith Beech to its logistics team based at the company’s headquarters in Poole. Beech’s expertise in managing the shipping and movement of TDSi’s integrated security products to partners and customers around the world is particularly important during the COVID-19 restrictions and transition to the new normal.

TDSi’s managing director John Davies commented: “We are delighted to welcome Keith to the team at TDSi. He is already a key figure in our ongoing distribution operations. Given the restrictions and social distancing rules associated with the new normal, Keith has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that our products are smoothly and reliably managed and shipped worldwide, wherever and whenever they are needed.”

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Keith Beech

Reflecting upon his appointment, Beech explained: “I have joined the TDSi team at a challenging, but also highly rewarding time with a remit to support our customers and maintain logistics in a rapidly changing world. I am directly involved with all of the functions of our warehouse operations, from goods receipt through to picking, packing and distribution, while at the same time maintaining safe social distancing regulations as well as the highest levels of accuracy and quality service.”

With a distinguished career in logistics for technology businesses, including both supervisory and managerial roles, Beech has the expertise and experience to fully support TDSi’s expanding international operations.

Beech concluded: “One of the main things that drew me to this role is working with and being part of the highly talented and dedicated team at TDSi. The Poole facility encompasses many key parts of the company, including product development and business operations, which means our logistical team is a focal point in delivering TDSi’s combined expertise to the market. I am now looking forward to being part of our continued success and supporting our business partners and customers alike.”

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NorthEdge Capital backs Orbis Protect’s bolt-on acquisition of Optosafe

Private equity-backed property, site and people protection specialist Orbis Protect has made its first acquisition following a strong period of growth despite the UK-wide lockdown. The business has bought Glasgow-based Optosafe, the 360-degree CCTV tower provider with which it has partnered for the last three years.

Orbis Protect employs more than 400 staff across 19 UK depots, working with clients across the private and public sectors. Its services include vacant property management and securing such properties so that they are ready for re-occupation, as well as site security for commercial offices, construction and other vulnerable sites. The business also offers a lone worker monitoring solution, supporting 35,000 workers annually with personalised alarm services.

The deal follows NorthEdge’s initial backing in 2018 and two years of strong organic growth for Orbis Protect, which has achieved consistent year-on-year organic EBITDA growth in excess of 20% since 2016. Earlier this year, the business ranked eighth in the Sunday Times’ Profit Track and, following this acquisition, is expecting to achieve in excess of £8 million EBITDA in the next financial year.

During lockdown, Orbis Protect has seen rapid grown of its decontamination services. In March, it had six team members trained to deliver specialist cleaning services, which include fogging technology to remove traces of COVID-19, with a further 60 being trained throughout lockdown to meet customer demand.

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Supporting the client base

Guy Other, CEO at Orbis Protect, said: “During lockdown we have been able to adapt quickly to support our clients. This approach to spotting new opportunities for our business has been key to us continuing to report strong organic growth. NorthEdge has been supportive of our ambitions since backing the business, and its backing in terms of our first acquisition has been invaluable.”

Other added: “Over the last few years we have managed to develop a strong partnership with Optosafe on a range of client projects. The specialist insight which the team can provide makes this deal a key part of our ongoing strategy and will help us to further accelerate our growth.”

Optosafe CTO John Robertson has now joined Orbis as managing director of the Optosafe division and will continue to focus on delivering customer solutions, while at the same time driving new product development opportunities.

Robertson told Security Matters: “We know our markets well and are aware of the high demand for Optosafe’s services. It makes monitoring and security for areas like construction, infrastructure and the utilities much safer and more reliable than traditional security systems, which is key for clients who own and operate such assets. Working with Orbis Protect will allow us to accelerate our ongoing R&D work in order to develop new services for our customers.”

Details of the deal

The acquisition was funded in part thanks to financing provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank. Orbis was supported on the acquisition by Deloitte (corporate finance), Browne Jacobson (legal), BDO (financial due diligence), Fairgrove Partners (commercial due diligence) and Better Basics (operational due diligence).

Kevin O’Loughlin, investment director at NorthEdge Capital, explained: “Orbis Protect has performed exceptionally well in the harshest of trading environments presented by COVID-19. The acquisition of Optosafe provides Orbis Protect with additional penetration into the high-growth CCTV towers market and underpins the exciting growth strategy which management has in place for the business.”

Ian Mansell, senior director at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, added: “We are delighted to have worked with the team at Orbis Protect and alongside NorthEdge Capital to deliver what is a highly strategic acquisition. To have completed this deal against such a challenging backdrop is testament to the resilient and highly sustainable performance seen across the core business, which should be further enhanced through this acquisition. We look forward to continuing to support Orbis Protect on delivering its ambitious plans for future growth.”

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Radiation detection company Symetrica lands £4 million investment to accelerate international growth

Symetrica, the manufacturer of radiation detection products for military and homeland security applications, has closed a £4 million funding round. The round was led by Parkwalk, the investor in start-ups spun out of UK universities, with participation from other existing investors and the management team. It includes a provision for a further £2 million commitment from a specialist defence and security investor.

Symetrica was founded back in 2002 by the former head of Physics and Astrophysics at Southampton University. The company now manufactures, supplies and supports a wide range of devices, from hand-held and backpack-mounted sensors through to vehicle-based detectors and drive-through scanners. Its solutions are used by customs, border protection, law enforcement, the Emergency Services, military personnel and first responders, enabling them to identify threats and respond accordingly.

According to the business, its proprietary Discovery Technology – a combination of patented algorithms and hardware – enables Symetrica detectors to be two-to-three times more accurate than equivalent conventional detectors.

Every day, the technology removes radiation alarms not of regulatory interest and provides police and customs officers alike with high confidence nuclear material identification in hand-held isotope identifiers with smart phone-like connectivity to technical authorities for operational assurance.

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Accelerate global growth

Symetrica operates from offices and manufacturing sites in both the UK and the US and employs 75 members of staff. The new funding will be used to accelerate global growth by enhancing the company’s international sales programme.

Symetrica already supplies its products to Government departments in the UK, the EU and the United States, as well as to partners worldwide. Its technology is employed by the US military.

Commenting on the impact of the funding for the business, Heddwyn Davies (CEO at Symetrica) explained: “In these extraordinary times, this investment gives us the capacity to increase our sales and business development resources and sell more into international markets where we’ve already won prestigious contracts. It also enables us to capitalise on multi-year procurement opportunities. We’re pleased to have our existing investors follow on in this round, and also very excited to see what we can achieve with their continued support.”

Neil Cameron, investment director at Parkwalk, said: “Symetrica’s Discovery Technology is a huge leap forward for radiation detection and testimony to the high-class science and engineering capabilities of the team, as well as to the importance of patient capital for R&D-rich companies. We’re pleased to be leading a round that will enable the team to capitalise on some significant customer wins and accelerate international growth.”

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Ground Truth Intelligence promises “new model for investigations and due diligence”

Ground Truth Intelligence, a new global intelligence and investigations marketplace platform, has now been formally launched. With the business headquartered in London, the platform itself was born in response to market feedback, chiefly received from investigations and intelligence managers in corporations, banks, law firms and consultancies commenting on how investigations, due diligence and other corporate intelligence requirements have been serviced.

According to Ground Truth Intelligence, the prevailing industry business model has changed little in 50 years. The business duly offers an alternative to the old approach through its proprietary technology platform which provides access to “the best investigators and intelligence sources” across 200-plus jurisdictions and underpinned by 1,000-plus independent resources (ie ‘Network Partners’).

The Ground Truth Intelligence solution connects clients rapidly and directly to “the best-placed resources” for executing requirements involving anything from document retrieval through to sensitive Human Resources enquiries. The business also flows all information securely, with detailed finished reporting to specific raw information. Document retrieval/site visits are part of the overall mix.

This new, technology-enabled approach is said to afford clients “maximum control” over the “frequently opaque” process of information gathering and significantly reduces the delays, costs, risks and poor results that can often be associated with sourcing investigative support across multiple jurisdictions and requirements.

Ultimately, Ground Truth Intelligence’s end goal is to enable clients to access ethically sourced intelligence and investigative resources seamlessly in any relevant jurisdiction in the world.

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Rapid change

As is the case with many sectors, rapid change is being experienced across the global intelligence and investigations market. For its part, Ground Truth Intelligence wants to position itself at the core of change in the industry as the latter moves from a high-cost and opaque model to a lean, transparent and technology-enabled outcome.

Stewart Kelly, founder and CEO of Ground Truth Intelligence, informed Security Matters: “The intelligence and investigations industry is a very late bloomer when it comes to technology adoption. We are the first marketplace platform for intelligence and investigations resources and offer a distinct alternative to the existing model for sourcing investigative support around the world.”

Kelly added: “We reduce cost by removing middlemen. We improve quality by dint of clear sourcing and direct engagement with the person doing the work. We also reduce risk as all necessary information is generated by vetted providers and passes through the platform, enabling maximum data security and compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.”

*Further information can be found online at https://www.gtintel.io/

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Security guarding specialist SSGC appoints Haines Watts to manage “rapid growth trajectory”

One of Britain’s fastest-growing specialist security businesses has appointed a leading national accountancy firm as part of its planned expansion strategy that has so far seen a substantial turnover increase to over £60 million per annum.

Robust systems and bespoke technology has enabled SSGC, a niche provider of fully-vetted security officers, to deploy hundreds of individuals to secure and marshal the COVID-19 testing programme at centres right across the UK, building on the significant growth already achieved by the company throughout 2019.

Further, the business has now appointed Haines Watts, the accountancy firm with more than 50 offices nationwide, to manage its financial affairs as it draws up its long-term expansion plan after securing contracts which have underpinned the aforementioned robust and rapid growth in turnover.

Swindon-based SSGC has demonstrated its ability to rapidly provide hundreds of guarding personnel within very tight time windows, many of them former military personnel returning to front line duties as part of the national Coronavirus effort.

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Mike Lloyd, a partner at Haines Watts (left), with Guy Dungworth (a shareholder in SSGC) and David Stubbs (managing director at SSGC)

Reinforcing the front line

“Reinforcing our front line in the fight against COVID-19 has meant making some sound decisions as we rise through the ranks of security firms to be part of the top flight of specialist businesses,” said David Stubbs, managing director of SSGC, in conversation with Security Matters. “Appointing an equally top flight accountancy firm was always part of our long-term planning.”

Stubbs continued: “Growth has always been a major part of our strategy, but our ability to demonstrate a robust response to the Government’s needs during the COVID-19 lockdown suddenly accelerated those plans. We had already established a good relationship with Haines Watts, so a complete move to take advantage of a strategic finance partner that complements our own direction of travel will definitely help us when it comes to shaping our future direction.”

Mike Lloyd, partner with Haines Watts, responded: “We provide services to thousands of businesses, many of which, like SSGC, are going through a phase of significant growth in a short time. Expansion presents new and exciting challenges and secures a spot for SSGC as a major corporate player. This is a target the business was already heading towards before current events arose.”

Lloyd continued: “Accountancy services fall broadly into two distinct areas, namely compliance and planning. From the compliance side, we can make sure that SSGC meets all of the necessary legal and tax requirements. With planning, we can help optimise areas such as tax management, financial modelling and scenario forecasting in order to maximise the financial fluidity of the company under growth. We are already working with the directors on both fronts at this key time in the company’s evolution.”

Armed Forces Covenant signatory

A signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, SSGC is an ethical business committed to supporting the military community through remobilisation projects and is also being supported by other key partners in Skipton Business Finance and Squire Patton Boggs Solicitors in delivering on the Government’s call to action.

SSGC is a Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme registered business that was formed by MBO back in 2014

David Stubbs, himself a former military policeman, concluded: “This is a very exciting time for the business as we transition into the next phase of our development. Working with Haines Watts provides seamless access to the financial services and expertise we will be leaning on this year as we execute the next phase of our growth.”

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“87% of Britons feel unsafe at their place of worship” reveals Jacksons Fencing survey

Jacksons Fencing’s latest research has uncovered the experiences and concerns of the UK’s faith communities when it comes to criminality. Six-in-ten people of the 2,000 individuals surveyed believe their place of worship has been a target of crime, while it appears that almost half of all places of worship are targeted on a monthly basis and upwards of one-in-ten are targeted daily.

The company has released various insights into security at religious venues contained in its White Paper entitled ‘Places of Worship: Understanding Security Issues’. The findings highlight the most pressing safety concerns of the UK’s faith communities, centred on from physical and verbal harassment through to theft, burglary and vandalism.

More than half (54%, in fact) of those people surveyed agree that lots of physical security makes them feel nervous, while the majority (76%) feel safer with a certain amount of security measures in place.

Crime perpetrated at religious venues is far too frequent, with three-quarters (74%) of respondents saying their place of worship is a target of crime at least on a yearly basis. Compared to five years ago, the situation hasn’t improved. Most people (81%) report that the amount of crime on-site has either remained the same or increased.

Despite the frequency of incidences, places of worship play an increasingly vital role in society, with 44% of worshipers saying they are more a place of asylum and safety than they used to be.

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Greatest concerns

Three-quarters of respondents remain concerned about security threats, the most worrying of these being vandalism (18%), burglary, theft and robbery (17%) and personal physical attacks (17%). Of those concerned about vandalism, these individuals are most worried about broken windows (52%), damage to the building’s exterior (46%) and graffiti (45%).

With only 13% of people saying they feel secure enough at their place of worship, there is clearly much work to be done. However, while three-quarters (76%) feel safer with security measures in place, there’s a fine line to be drawn. As stated, 54% say lots of physical security makes them feel nervous.

Popular security measures taken by religious bodies include more tightly controlled access (38%), moving donation boxes to more secure areas (37%), removing valuables from display (30%) and increasing physical security measures (25%).

Moving forward, people would feel safer with CCTV (42%), alarm systems (31%), gates (27%), better lighting (24%) and the installation of security fencing (23%).

Detect, defend, deter

Peter Jackson, managing director at Jacksons Fencing, commented: “Places of worship need to be both safe and welcoming. Security has to make worshipers feel safe, provide solace and not deter those requiring support. With so many religious buildings of all faiths being regularly targeted by criminals, the security measures implemented should not only detect and defend against attacks, but they should also deter potential criminals or intruders from making an attempt at crime in the first instance.”

Michael Brooke, head of operational services for Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, advised: “A sensible and practical level of security, which will not adversely affect the efficient running of the place of worship, is essential. The majority of burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves who choose premises that have no obvious signs of security and where they think they will not be seen.”

Brooke added: “Having someone in place who meets and greets visitors is a great preventative measure. In particular, having someone there who knows the congregation enables strangers to be identified such that they can be either welcomed or turned away. It’s also useful to remove and lock valuables away during times outside of services.”

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IDIS sets sights on developing video surveillance projects in Middle East and North Africa

Surveillance solutions specialist IDIS is now targeting video-based projects in resilient Middle East market sectors and encompassing the banking, grocery retail and education sectors as the business seeks looks to build on recent successes when it comes to delivering compliance-driven solutions.

Despite continuing disruption and uncertainty in the global economy, the company feels the outlook is positive in the Middle East region as it supports its systems integration partners to focus on both resilient sectors and markets showing continued growth.

The video technology developer, which is known for its end-to-end solutions, highlights opportunities for video tech projects in the education sector where it already has successful deployments in in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Kuwait.

“The sector continues to expand due to investment from private equity firms and Government infrastructure funding, as well as international higher education institutes expanding their presence in the region,” explained Jamil Al Asfar, senior sales manager for IDIS in the Middle East and Africa.

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In the banking sector, major investments in more robust surveillance infrastructure over the last three years have been driven by compliance pressure as banks look to meet more stringent Government standards.

IDIS-developed video technology has already been deployed to protect more than 3,000 bank branches and ATMs for the National Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia and was also chosen to secure the Central Bank of Jordan. Both projects demonstrated the benefits of robust, cyber-secure technology and proved how compliance can be delivered at pace, even on a challenging scale and in tough environments.

Upgrade projects

IDIS solutions are fully compliant with requirements in the financial sector, including the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority regulations. As a result, upgrade projects are driving strong activity for the company and its integration partners in the KSA, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan.

In the grocery and retail sector, Carrefour’s recently reported expansion across the Middle East, and its choice of IDIS video tech, has paved the way for further opportunities, among them projects in hypermarkets.

“Working alongside its integration partners, IDIS boasts in-depth experience of retail applications globally and we’re focusing on continuing demand for not just affordable video, but also scalable solutions that offer advanced analytics and deep learning tools,” continued Jamil Al Asfar. “These will help stores compete in the current tough trading conditions as well as into the future.”

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Jamil Al Asfar

Further, he stated: “Security Industry Regulatory Agency certification for the latest range of our cameras and NVRs also means that we’re gaining momentum in commercial, residential and Government sectors across the UAE. In Dubai, we’ve seen construction and re-development rapidly bounce back. The new facilities involved need compliant, cyber-secure and resilient video tech to ensure public safety and security.”

Ahmad Shanawani, managing director of Ametrad Technology Services, concluded: “Despite the undoubted economic challenges in some sectors, we’re still seeing strong demand for video solutions that combine low total cost of ownership, high performance and robust cyber security standards and that meet compliance needs. We’re now seeing how much IDIS’ end-to-end solutions and the company’s collaborative approach are suited to the growth projects with which we’re involved.”

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HID Global “brings trust” to online and mobile banking in face of cyber threat

As consumers embrace the convenience of online and mobile banking at both traditional and the latest all-digital financial institutions, it has become an increasingly difficult challenge to combat cyber security threats while complying with regulatory data protection mandates. Trusted identity solutions specialist HID Global has solved those challenges for several banks as part of their digital transformation initiatives.

“Our solutions protect data and transactions while delivering a seamless experience for the consumer as well as maximum flexibility for banks,” explained Brad Jarvis, vice-president and managing director of identity and access management solutions at HID Global. “This includes the option of cloud-based authentication services that remove the complexity of providing multifactor authentication to a growing and diverse user population, while also offering the convenience and efficiency of centralised regulatory compliance audits.”

Challenging issues

As a business, HID Global is helping to address some of the most challenging of mobile banking issues. For example, a retail bank in Egypt has improved compliance and reduced fraud and operational costs thanks to an HID Trusted Transactions solution. This is pre-integrated with Temenos digital front office and core banking products.

In addition, a Swiss wealth management group is using the solution, along with the HID ActivID Authentication Server, to optimise flexibility while protecting mobile banking transactions and securing corporate data, applications and systems.

Further, two banks in Eastern Europe and the UK are using the solution for quick and easy compliance with Second Payment Services Directive (ie PSD2) regulations.

Even with financial institutions returning to (almost) normal operating hours, many believe digital banking will grow in importance as part of ensuring business continuity and supporting customers who prefer not to visit their local branch during the ongoing health crisis. According to a McKinsey & Company report, the use of digital channels has grown in Europe by up to 20% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Adoption of digital banking

“In just a couple of months, customers’ adoption of digital banking has leapt forward by a couple of years,” suggests the document. “Our most recent customer survey showed a 10% to 20% rise in digital banking use across Europe in April. Many Italian banks are striving to enable every single one of their customers to use digital banking. Such a jump in adoption opens the door for banks to turn digital channels into real sales channels, not just convenient self-service tools.”

HID Global’s complete HID Trusted Transactions offer for end users in the banking and finance sector includes the HID Authentication platform delivered either as a server or service, plus a choice of hardware tokens or the HID Approve multi-factor authentication solution with mobile push notification capabilities and the HID Risk Management Solution – Threat and Fraud Detection.

The comprehensive offer from the business delivers risk-based adaptive authentication, threat detection and transaction signing.

*Click here for more information about HID’s advanced multi-factor authentication solutions for the banking sector

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96% of UK organisations experience at least one business-impacting cyber attack in past 12 months

Tenable Inc, the cyber exposure company, has published the results of a global industry study of business and security executives that reveals the majority of UK organisations (96% of those surveyed, in fact) have experienced a business-impacting cyber attack in the past 12 months.

The data is drawn from ‘The Rise of the Business-Aligned Security Executive’, a commissioned study of more than 800 global business and cyber security leaders, including 103 respondents from the UK. The survey was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Tenable.

As cyber criminals continue their relentless attacks, 63% of respondents in the UK have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of business-impacting cyber episodes over the past two years. Unfortunately, these attacks had damaging effects, with organisations reporting loss of employee data (44%), financial loss or theft (36%) and customer attrition (34%). Some 65% of security leaders in the UK say these attacks also involved operational technology.

Business leaders want a clear picture of how at risk they are and how that risk is changing as they plan and execute business strategies. Only four out of every ten local security leaders say they can answer the fundamental question: “How secure, or at risk, are we?” with a high level of confidence, despite the prevalence of business-impacting cyber attacks.

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Global respondents

Looking at global respondents, fewer than 50% of security leaders said they are framing cyber security threats within the context of a specific business risk. For example, although 96% of respondents had developed response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, 75% of business and security leaders admitted their response strategies were only “somewhat” aligned.

Organisations with security and business leaders who are aligned in measuring and managing cyber security as a strategic business risk deliver demonstrable results. Compared to their siloed peers, business-aligned security leaders are:

*Eight times more likely to be highly confident in their ability to report on their organisations’ level of security or risk

*90% are very or completely confident in their ability to demonstrate that cyber security investments are positively impacting business performance compared with 55% of their siloed counterparts

85% have metrics to track cyber security RoI and impact on business performance versus just 25% of their siloed peers

Business-aligned leaders

Those organisations with business-aligned cyber security leaders are also:

*Three times more likely to ensure cyber security objectives are in lock step with business priorities

*Three times more likely to have an holistic understanding of their organisation’s entire attack surface

Three times more likely to use a combination of asset criticality and vulnerability data when prioritising remediation efforts

“In the future, there will be two kinds of CISO — those who align themselves directly with the business and everyone else,” said Renaud Deraison, CTO and co-founder at Tenable. “The only way to thrive in this era of digital acceleration is to bring cyber into every business question, decision and investment. We firmly believe this particular study shows that forward-leaning organisations view cyber security strategy as essential to innovation and that, when security and the business work hand-in-glove, the results can be transformational.”

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