Many senior executives are still failing to understand the level of international cyber threat to their organisations, says the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), UK chapter.
"The nature of the threat is well understood in the security community, but they are struggling to get the message across to senior executives," said Mike Loginov, director for the ISSA UK Security Leadership Academy.
"More and more, security professionals are telling me they are struggling to get buy-in to projects," he told Computer Weekly.
The problem, he said, is that group CEOs, group managing directors and board members do not understand the level and extent of the cyber threat to their organisations.
Many senior executives do not see the need for cyber security because they do not think their organisations hold any data worth stealing, said Loginov, including executives from companies that handle large government contracts for critical national infrastructure.
"Only after a security breach do they understand how important their data is," he said.
Although awareness of the importance of information security is growing, Loginov said it is still no-where near the level it ought to be, especially in organisations doing business in parts of the world where there is no compunction about stealing intellectual property.
"Senior executives need to wake up to the extent that their organisations are exposed to cyber threats, which is much greater than many of them think," he said.
To help address the problem, the ISSA is holding a one-day master class for corporate executives about how to protect businesses from cyber threats on 11 July in London.
The master class is to be presented by Ira Winkler, member of the ISSA International Board of Directors and Samantha Manke, security analyst at The Toro Company.
Winkler, who is also president of the Internet Advisors Group, will look into the motivations of those behind cyber threat and how companies can protect themselves.
Manke, who has created a security awareness programme for her company, will share the results of her research into security awareness efforts of major international organisations.