Persistent cybersecurity threats require a new look at protective strategies

RSM US Middle Market Business Index Special Report: Cybersecurity 2024

May 29, 2024
Cybersecurity MMBI Economics

A deep analysis of emerging cyberthreats and how to build cyber resilience

Developing a comprehensive cybersecurity approach is a strategic imperative in the middle market, as companies seek to outmaneuver cybercriminals in an ever-evolving digital ecosystem that increases attack risks. Today, the question is not whether an attack will happen but rather when and at what intensity.

The cybersecurity challenge is relentless, as reported breaches in the middle market have tied a record high in new RSM research. According to findings in the Q1 2024 RSM US Middle Market Business Index survey, 28% of middle market executives surveyed said their organizations experienced a data breach in the previous year, rising from 20% in 2023 and matching record results from the 2021 RSM survey.

While all middle market companies are at risk, smaller organizations face more of an uphill battle against cyberthreats, with fewer dedicated internal security personnel and less budget flexibility. In the MMBI survey, 61% of respondents said their companies have two or fewer data security and privacy employees. However, 34% of smaller middle market companies have none, with 27% of those respondents leveraging external providers to fill those critical gaps.

A few of the report’s key findings:


of middle market executives reported suffering a data breach in the previous year, tying a record high in RSM’s research.


of respondents have two or fewer dedicated data security and privacy employees and 34% of smaller middle market companies have none.


of executives plan to increase the proportion of their organization’s revenue devoted to cybersecurity in the coming year.


of respondents said password use is outmoded, representing a crucial opportunity for improved security.

The MMBI survey aggregated the responses of 403 senior executives across a range of middle market companies within varied industries. It was conducted by The Harris Poll for RSM from Jan. 8 to Feb. 16, 2024.

Inside the report

The cybersecurity and data privacy landscape is complex, especially as technology becomes more infused into the business ecosystem and new regulatory standards are introduced. Our report provides details in several key areas, including:

  • The various factors, including complacency and emerging technology such as AI, contributing to the record amount of breaches
  • Why even with cybersecurity budgets on the rise for many companies, staffing strategies may still require attention
  • How digital identity measures are in the spotlight as the security perimeter expands
  • The challenges and opportunities presented by the regulatory compliance landscape
  • Why companies continue to trust the cloud and move off-premises for data security

These insights into cybersecurity trends, strategies and concerns are based on MMBI survey data, along with analysis from RSM advisors. In addition, RSM’s industry senior analysts provide perspectives on cybersecurity issues and strategies in a variety of industries.

Access the report

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