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Despite the abundance of cyber attacks and data breaches occurring this year alone, a new study reveals many organizations still lack high confidence and preparedness in the event of a data breach or hacking incident.

The 2014 IT Security and Privacy Survey, performed by global consulting firm Protiviti, found that one in three companies do not have a formal, documented crisis response plan that would be activated and executed in a crisis—up 13 percent from 2013 and nearly a threefold increase from 2012.

Furthermore, IT professionals reported a lack of confidence in their organization’s ability to prevent an external attack, as well as a breach caused by a company insider.

However, results varied substantially in favor of organizations with high board engagement in information security and companies with all core information security policies in place, including acceptable use, record retention, written information security and social media policies.

“Our survey results tell a story of gaps between where companies currently stand and where they should be in relation to fundamental elements of IT security,” said Cal Slemp, Protiviti’s managing director and leader of IT security and privacy practice.

“Companies need to take more action in relation to the risks they recognize to better protect their crucial data.”

Although results showed some improvement from the last three years, the report stressed there is definite room for growth, with board engagement being a key differentiator in the strength of an organization’s IT security profile.

“It starts at the top,” read the report, “which requires establishing risk appetite and implementing a security framework. It continues with having in place fundamental information management, security and retention/destruction policies.”

The third annual survey results were gathered from more than 340 CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, as well as IT directors, managers and auditors from companies generating annual revenues ranging from less than $100 million to more than $20 billion.

The following infographic shows the survey’s highlights:


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