Only 47% of IT pros are confident in their hardware configurations

Respondents of a new Tripwire survey were asked about the level of confidence they have in their application of foundational security controls, including hardware and software inventory, vulnerability management, patch management and system hardening.

These controls are required by the most widely recognized global security standards and organizations, including:

  • The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

According to a report by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), 96 percent of successful data breaches could be avoided if simple or intermediate security controls were put in place.

Tripwire’s survey found that 77 percent of all respondents felt “confident” in their implementation of these basic security controls. However, despite the ongoing increase in targeted cyberattacks, 27 percent of IT professionals remain “not confident” in the secure configuration of common devices connected to their network.

Key survey findings included:

  • Over 100 million records have been comprised in retail data breaches in the last 12 months as a result of malware on point of sale devices, but 77 percent of retail IT professionals are “confident” that all of the devices on their network are running only authorized software.
  • Despite an ICS-CERT warning regarding an ongoing, sophisticated malware campaign targeting ICS systems, 89 percent of executives from the energy industry are “very confident” or “fairly confident” in their vulnerability management program.
  • Only 10 percent of security professionals are “very confident” in their patch management program.
  • Only 47 percent of IT professionals are confident in the secure configuration of routers, firewalls and modems connected to their network.

Andrew Kellett, Principal Analyst, Security and Infrastructure Solutions, Ovum said: “With the list of high-profile security breaches across all sectors of industry continuing to grow, 2014 is on target to be the worst year yet for data breaches. All indications show that the amount of data stolen is set to outstrip 2013, which itself was recognized across the security industry as being a very bad year. Against this backdrop of failure it is inconceivable that over three quarters of IT professionals are confident that their existing security facilities will keep them safe. A fair proportion of these organizations will already have suffered security problems this year, and given that the average time taken to detect a security breach continues to be measured in months there is a good chance they just haven’t as yet identified the problem.”

Respondents included 404 IT professionals and 302 executives from retail, energy and financial services organizations in the U.S. and U.K.