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One-Third of Global Organizations Lack Confidence in Their Cybersecurity

According to the 2015 Global Information Security Survey (GISS), 36 percent of global organizations lack confidence in their ability to detect sophisticated cyberattacks. 1,755 organizations from 67 different countries responded to the survey, creating a global picture of the current state of information security. Unfortunately, that picture is somewhat concerning.

Holes in the Defenses

The fact that so many organizations may be vulnerable to cyberattacks could be a significant problem, especially since cyberattacks in 2015 cost companies more than $15 million on average, an increase of 20 percent over 2014. Although roughly two-thirds of organizations felt they could reliably detect cyberattacks, detecting an attack is not always the same as stopping it. Some of the other numbers provided by the survey paint a broader picture of potential vulnerability.

88 percent of respondents felt that their current information security did not fully meet the organization's needs, although the reasons for that shortcoming were not specified. Insufficient security is the obvious cause, and likely the most common one. However, information security could fail to meet company needs in other ways, such as creating an obstacle that slows down daily operations.

While it can be difficult to pinpoint a reason for this lack of sufficient security, the most common cause of underperformance in little-understood areas of business is lack of funding. Many company leaders don't fully understand the benefits of increased information security or the resources needed to detect and prevent attacks. Information security also has very few tangible benefits to show off, which could cause it to be underfunded when the company budget is formed. 69 percent of organizations surveyed said their current information security budget needs to be increased by up to 50 percent to properly protect the company.

However, GISS also points to another potential problem: the challenges involved in finding new employees. 57 percent of respondents said that a lack of skilled resources made it more difficult for information security to fully contribute to the organization.

A Changing Threat Landscape

GISS asked organizations to order a list of vulnerabilities and threats from most to least important. The most significant vulnerability was unaware or careless employees. The percentage of companies that feel vulnerable in this area has decreased from 57 percent last year to 44 percent, indicating a growing confidence in employee ability and training.

Although most security efforts are focused on hardware, companies need to make sure hardware is secure too. The second largest vulnerability reported was outdated systems, with 34 percent of respondents affected. However, this is a significant decline from the 52 percent of companies that felt vulnerable in this area last year.

The biggest changes, however, are in the types of threats organizations are worried about. Phishing and malware were reported as the two most significant threats, with 44 and 43 percent of companies showing concern, respectively. Last year these threats weren't even among the top three. The theft of financial information was seen as the greatest threat in 2014.

From this data, it seems many organizations are becoming aware that the greatest danger they face is not a specific, targeted attack, but a widespread threat that finds its way into the system through the computer of a careless employee. Only a small percentage of companies will be targeted by a hacking effort, but phishing and malware can easily be spread to hundreds of organizations with little effort on the part of the attacker.

Fortunately, it seems that some organizations are making an effort to bulk up their security and adapt to ever-evolving security threats. 28 percent of respondents said they planned to spend more money than last year on a fundamental redesign of their information security systems. With potentially millions of dollars on the line, that expense seems more than justified.

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Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits ProductivityBytes.com. Follow her on Twitter to read all of her latest posts!
Published Friday, December 04, 2015 8:56 AM by David Marshall
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