3 in 5 companies expect to be breached in 2017


A survey from SailPoint, has explored how enterprises are changing their approach to security, amid an evolving threat landscape that sees almost daily announcements of data breaches, including some of the largest ever recorded.

This years’ report found that of the 50% who reported being breached in 2016, the average material impact to the business was £3.1 million ($4 million). It also found that 35% of companies suffered two or more breaches in the last twelve months.

Unfortunately, three in five expect to be breached in 2017, with 29% believing they won’t even know they were breached when it happens. As a result, survey respondents are focused on mitigating their exposure points as an organisation – with 65% seeing identity management as a foundation of their security strategy.

>See also: 7 key lessons from TalkTalk’s data breach

The survey has provided a global benchmark into how IT decision-makers are navigating today’s compliance and security challenges. The company commissioned independent research firm Vanson Bourne to interview 600 senior IT decision-makers at organisations with at least 1,000 employees across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The report did find some common areas of risk that organisations need to address:

• Documents and files may be an enterprise’s biggest downfall in 2017: Unstructured data that lives outside of structured corporate systems and applications is a huge red flag for enterprises today – even though that data runs rampant through a typical enterprise, 41% aren’t sure how to manage and protect that data from theft.

• Employees need to understand – and follow – corporate security policies: Over one-third of respondents (42%) cite trends like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Shadow IT as great areas of risk for their organisation, yet less than half have formalised corporate security policies in place. Coupled with the risks posed by continued poor password hygiene cited by 25% of respondents, it’s clear that enterprises need to better outline and enforce corporate security policies, company-wide.

>See also: Corporations ‘not prepared’ for mobile breach

• The contractor workforce is an enterprise blind spot: The surge in freelancers, contract workers and other third parties that make up today’s diverse workforce presents a significant challenge for organisations as it relates to managing identities and their access. 46% of respondents are concerned with the threat that contractors may pose to their organisation, with 70% admitting they don’t have full visibility into the access contractors have to corporate systems and the sensitive data that lies within.

“This year’s Market Pulse Survey highlights that the conversation is clearly changing as organisations consider how to mitigate their risk – or minimise their exposure when a breach happens,” said Juliette Rizkallah, chief marketing officer for SailPoint.

“This is a positive change, as fostering open conversations and best practices will only benefit these organisations when they find themselves in the unfortunate position of being breached. The common areas of exposure can be addressed, but many organisations are struggling with how or even where to start. This report provides a clear roadmap for them to get their house in order.”

>See also: Scandal: 11 UK charities breach data laws

At the same time, the survey revealed that IT decision-makers now view identity as the centre of their security program. In fact:

• 46% of respondents are concerned about proper visibility into who has access to what across their corporate network, with a majority (86 per cent) admitting that if their CEO’s email was hacked, they wouldn’t immediately know what their exposure points were.

• 77% of respondents now understand the importance of having strong identity governance controls in place across their organisation’s entire IT infrastructure, especially when it comes to showcasing that those controls are in place to their board of directors.

• The benefits of an identity governance programme are clear, with respondents citing enhanced security (65 per cent), a more automated and efficient organisation (64 per cent), and business enablement (58%), as key business benefits.

• Specific to European respondents, as the GDPR compliance deadline looms, compliance bubbled to the top as a key goal and driver behind identity governance programmes for nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK respondents.

>See also: Cyber breaches cost PLCs ‘1.8% of company value’

“There is a silver lining to our report. It’s clear that now more than ever before, organisations better understand what – and where – their risks are, and that identity management can help address those risks. Identity provides that ability to put the detective and preventive controls in place to address all of these exposure points, while automating many identity-related processes to ensure that only the right people have the right access to applications and data at the right time,” continued Rizkallah.

“By putting identity at the centre of security and IT operations, these organisations can move their IT teams out of full-time firefighting mode, freeing them up to focus on enabling the business to move forward, confidently and securely.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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