You only have to look around you, whether at work or at home, to see evidence that life is good. Most of us are lucky enough to have the right tools and conditions to help us be efficient and effective in our jobs. And a lot of people are living well within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But as any behavioral scientist will tell you, what seems initially positive on the outside often masks underlying issues.

It’s a situation we’re seeing in the Third Annual State of Cyber Resilience report. At first glance, the basics of cybersecurity are improving and cyber resilience is on the rise. Our latest research shows that most organizations are getting better at preventing direct cyberattacks. But in the shape-shifting world of cybersecurity, attackers have already moved on to indirect targets, such as vendors and other third parties in the supply chain. For many, this means new battlegrounds even before they have mastered the fight in their own back yard. At the same time, cybersecurity cost increases are reaching unsustainable levels and, despite the hefty price tags, security investments often fail to deliver. As a result, many organizations face a tipping point.

Leaders are doing it for themselves

Our analysis reveals there is a group of standout organizations that have found a way through. This group of leaders—around 17 percent of our sample—stop more attacks, find and fix breaches faster, and reduce the breach impact.

Here’s some practical pointers to how the non-leaders might step up:

What leaders do Performance targets for non-leaders
Leaders have nearly a fourfold advantage in stopping targeted cyberattacks. Reduce the number of cyberattacks that result in a security breach from 1-in-8 to 1-in-27 or better.
Leaders have a fourfold advantage in detection speed. Reduce the average detection rate for a security breach from up to seven days or more to less than one day.
Leaders have a threefold advantage in speed of remediation. Reduce the average time to remediate a security breach from up to a month or more to 15 days or less.
Leaders have a twofold advantage in containing damage impact. Ensure at least four out of five security breaches have no impact or only a minor impact.

Of course, it isn’t only targets that matter. There’s a mind-set at play here, too. So, what do leaders do differently to become more resilient? Three things set them apart:

  • Invest in what works: Leaders choose speed enabling technologies. In particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) technologies form the backbone of leaders’ investment strategies. Leaders also know which technologies help to achieve a broader level of cybersecurity success to “fill the gaps” in performance.
  • Drive value from investments: Leaders scale more. Their security teams are more effective and they protect more key assets. Leaders train more, and are faster at discovering and fixing breaches and protect more key assets. Leaders collaborate more, and they protect more key assets and improve regulatory alignment. Organizations that collaborate more have a breach ratio of 6 percent against an average of 13 percent for the rest.
  • Sustain what they have: Leaders focus more of their budget allocations on sustaining what they already have. They perform better at the basics—only 15 percent of leaders having more than 500,000 records exposed in the last year—compared with 44 percent of non-leaders.

I am heartened by our findings from this year’s report. The fact of the matter is that we at least know what differentiates a leader and that gives the non-leaders, who are by no means laggards but could do with a helping hand, a chance to catch up.

If you’d like to find out where your organization stands when it comes to the effectiveness of your cybersecurity investments, why not get in touch? Our Accenture Security Diagnostic enables you to benchmark your organization’s cybersecurity program capabilities against those of your peers wrapped up in a personalized report. At least you’ll find out if there is anything lurking under the surface of your current cybersecurity strategy’s success.


Accenture Security

Accenture Security is a leading provider of end-to-end cybersecurity services, including advanced cyber defense, applied cybersecurity solutions and managed security operations. We bring security innovation, coupled with global scale and a worldwide delivery capability through our network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Helped by our team of highly skilled professionals, we enable clients to innovate safely, build cyber resilience and grow with confidence.  Follow us @AccentureSecure on Twitter or visit us at

Accenture, the Accenture logo, and other trademarks, service marks, and designs are registered or unregistered trademarks of Accenture and its subsidiaries in the United States and in foreign countries. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners. All materials are intended for the original recipient only. The reproduction and distribution of this material is forbidden without express written permission from Accenture. The opinions, statements, and assessments in this report are solely those of the individual author(s) and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of Accenture, its subsidiaries, or affiliates. Given the inherent nature of threat intelligence, the content contained in this report is based on information gathered and understood at the time of its creation. It is subject to change. Accenture provides the information on an “as-is” basis without representation or warranty and accepts no liability for any action or failure to act taken in response to the information contained or referenced in this report.

Copyright © 2020 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks

Kelly Bissell

Lead –​ Accenture Security

Subscription Center
Subscribe to Security Blog Subscribe to Security Blog