Tanium, the industry’s only Converged Endpoint Management (XEM) provider, today released a study showing that attacks on employees are the leading cause of preventable cybersecurity incidents.
The study “Cybersecurity: Prevention Is Better than the Cure” uncovers how much time and resources companies spend on reactive versus preventive cybersecurity measures and the reasons behind their decisions. The report surveyed UK-based IT decision-makers from a variety of industries including the public sector, financial services, healthcare, and retail. The results show that 54% of respondents cited employee clicks on phishing links as the most common issue that can facilitate a successful cyberattack. The report also uncovers cybersecurity issues exacerbated by the shift to hybrid work, with 71% of business owners and partners finding it harder to defend against threats today than they did before the pandemic.
“Our research shows that many organizations are struggling to protect themselves from cyber threats in the hybrid work environment,” said Chris Vaughan, VP of Technical Account Management for EMEA & South Asia at Tanium. “During the pandemic, companies had to implement new technologies overnight to ensure business continuity. The hastily assembled patchwork of solutions left major security gaps. These gaps still exist and need to be closed, which is one of the reasons IT decision makers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure their environments.”
Key findings include:
- Phishing and security misconfigurations are top concerns for IT leaders. 64 percent of public sector respondents found avoidable security incidents caused by employees clicking on a phishing link. The second highest avoidable incident, cited by 50% of respondents, is security misconfigurations, e.g. B. when employees do not protect sensitive data with a password. This rate increases to 57% for companies with 250-500 employees.
- Organizations do not have the appropriate technologies to protect their IT assets. The third most common preventable incident is the lack of cyberattack prevention software, cited by 47% of respondents. In fact, some common cybersecurity tools are not used by the organizations surveyed or have only recently been used. For example, only 19% have used web vulnerability scanning, only 17% have used penetration testing software, and only 11% have used packet sniffers for five years or more.
- Areas where the next investments in cybersecurity will be made. 71 percent of business owners and partners are finding it harder to defend against threats than they were before the pandemic. This has prompted them to make new investments in cybersecurity, with threat detection and endpoint security being the top two areas earmarked for increased spending. Almost half of the respondents (49%) expect to invest more in threat detection over the next year; Organizations that have suffered a cyber attack or data breach in the past six months are also the most likely to invest in this area (56%). Endpoint security is expected to be the second-highest area of investment over the next 12 months, with 46% of organizations planning to increase spending. The third-highest area of planned investment is a data recovery and backup tools, with 45% of all businesses planning to increase spending on these technologies, a number rising to 58% for those who have experienced a cyberattack or data breach in the past six months. The fourth and fifth highest areas of potential investment are employee awareness training (43%) and new devices (42%), respectively.
“Enterprises are struggling to escape known and unknown vulnerabilities across an ever-expanding endpoint attack surface, and the results of this survey confirm that reality,” said Jason English, principal analyst at Intellyx. “Understaffed and ill-equipped security teams want a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, but they often don’t invest in countermeasures until an incident happens. The study found that 86% of organizations that experienced a security breach in the last six months believe that more investment in preventative measures such as employee training or tools that provide better network visibility would have minimized security incidents.”
Arlington Research conducted the survey across the UK with three hundred IT and security decision-makers in organizations with 250 or more employees. Attendees came from the public sector, banking and financial services, technology, manufacturing, retail, telecom, healthcare, and education.
“The high number of respondents citing endpoint security as a top future investment underscores the challenges facing businesses across the UK,” continued Vaughan. “It’s difficult – if not impossible – to protect data and devices that organizations can’t see, so it’s no wonder they’re shifting their resources to covering their blind spots. For those investments, moving from point tools to a platform solution can help reduce the cost and complexity of IT assets.”