Half of IT pros don’t know how to improve their security posture

Mid-market enterprises have high confidence in their cybersecurity defenses, but they struggle to defend against malicious activity that has become more sophisticated and targeted, according to Arctic Wolf Networks.

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The data revealed a cybersecurity dissonance among mid-market enterprises, highlighting the disparity between what IT professionals believe versus the reality of their security posture. Ninety-five percent of IT professionals believe their cybersecurity posture is above average to great, yet 100 percent of these same respondents report that their organization’s cybersecurity could improve in one or more areas.

Cybersecurity dissonance

Additional data supporting the cybersecurity dissonance includes:

  • 72 percent of respondents report that their role covers so many different areas that it is difficult to focus on IT security as much as they should.
  • 50 percent of the respondents said that security is so complex, they don’t know where to start to improve their organization’s security posture.
  • 51 percent say they would like their organization to assign more budget and/or resources to IT security.

“Most mid-market enterprises believe they are safe because they have the traditional perimeter defenses in place,” said Brian NeSmith, CEO of Arctic Wolf Networks. “This falls far short of what’s needed for rigorous security in today’s complex threat environment. The challenge smaller enterprises face is that they have all the same security issues as large enterprises with only a fraction of the budget and less specialized personnel.”

Struggling with cybersecurity challenges

The survey polled 200 IT decision makers in the United States who have involvement in their organization’s cybersecurity programs.

Despite their overly optimistic view of their own security structure, the survey found that organizations are, in reality, struggling with several cybersecurity challenges, including:

  • 90 percent say they need the capability to detect and respond to threats beyond their traditional perimeter defenses.
  • 50 percent indicate that security alerts are investigated “when IT staff have time.”
  • 77 percent of security alerts are investigated after more than hour.
  • 52 percent of security alerts are investigated after more than one day.
  • 63 percent admit they may not be able to stop zero-day threats.
  • 88 percent report that having a security operations center would improve their company’s security.

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“Many mid-market organizations seem to have a sense of security bravado that leaves them particularly vulnerable to compromise,” said David Monahan, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Management Associates. “Malicious activity has been on a steady increase over the last few years and has been especially targeting small and midmarket business because they have valuable data but are generally unprepared for the assault. Seventy percent of ransomware attacks happen to organizations under five thousand employees and sixty percent of the attacked organizations go out of business within six months. Given these types of statistics, it is imperative that mid-size organizations seriously consider services that are specifically designed to provide the mid-market businesses with enterprise-grade security that fits a mid-market budget.”

The survey found that a security operations center (SOC) was highly desired but largely viewed as being out of budget among survey respondents. A SOC is the most essential element of modern security, but they are very expensive and complicated to operate. Of the survey respondents, 59 percent reported that a SOC was too expensive for their organization. The survey data showed that a SOC costs, on average, $1.4 million to establish.

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