Only 49 percent of surveyed U.S. executives expect to spend more on cybersecurity in a year's time, despite a 56-percent majority expecting the number of data breach attempts to rise in 2018, according to a new research study.

C-level officers and senior security officers from 350 companies in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Nordics participated in the telephone survey, which was published this week by analytics software provider FICO and conducted by the research firm Ovum in March and April 2017.

In this survey, 68 percent of U.S. senior security executives said that they had already observed an increase in the number of data breach attempts in the past year. Despite this, and the tempered expectations for future cybersecurity spending, 53 percent of respondents said that they expected their firm to be in a better cybersecurity position next year, FICO and Ovum reported.

The findings highlight the difficulties that many security professionals face when attempting to procure budgetary dollars and resources from upper management, especially with a dearth of reliable industry guidance or benchmarks for what is advisable to spend. James O'Shea, a cybersecurity leader at RBC Capital in New York, noted this very problem at the Cyber Investing Summit 2017 in New York this month, stating that there was no good rule on what organizations should spend on cyber.