A serious disconnect exists between how decision makers (i.e., CISOs, CIOs and CEOs), and security practitioners (i.e., IT managers and directors, security architects and security operations analysts) perceive phishing prevention, according to a research by Ironscales.
The research is based on a detailed, cross-industry survey of 252 security professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Among its key findings, the survey revealed that decision makers are four times more likely than security practitioners to consider email security the highest priority, suggesting that security personnel believe that they have a sufficient handle on phishing prevention while the C-Suite sees substantial business risk.
“The disconnect between security practitioners and decision makers is extraordinarily problematic for phishing prevention and incident response,” said Eyal Benishti, CEO at Ironscales.
“The cause for such a predicament – whether or not security professionals on the front lines don’t fully understand the long-term business impacts of a successful phishing attack or if the C-Suite is simply over-concerned – is irrelevant. What matters is that moving forward these two important constituencies get on the same page so that the proper time and attention can be allocated towards minimizing phishing risk.”
The survey revealed that there is a critical need for real-time threat intelligence to more thoroughly address the risk of phishing; that the security skills shortage is having a material impact on security teams’ ability to deal with phishing properly, and that most organizations are using several tools to combat phishing, with secure email gateways remaining the most common.
Key research findings
- 24% of a 40-hour work week is spent by security analysts investigating, detecting or remediating phishing emails.
- Only One in five organizations continuously updates and tweaks its corporate email security policies in a typical month.
- Nearly three in five organizations train their users on proper email security protocols no more than twice per year, while only a third of organizations do so much more frequently (at least monthly or continuously).
- More than 70% of organizations use only manual processes for reviewing user-reported phishing emails, making it far too labor and time-intensive to mitigate email threats at scale.
Problems with phishing prevention
The survey also found that phishing emails continue to take organizations a substantial amount of time to detect, investigate and remediate. In total:
- 70% of organizations take more than 5 minutes to remove a phishing attack from a corporate mailbox even though the average time-to-click is 82 seconds.
- 75% of organizations cannot act on phishing intelligence automatically in real-time.
- 90% of organizations cannot orchestrate phishing intelligence from multiple sources in real time in the context of their overall email security solution(s).
“The survey’s findings reinforce the significant challenges that email phishing attacks incur on organizations of all sizes,” said Michael Osterman, principal analyst at Osterman Research.
“Most immediately, decision makers and cybersecurity practitioners must work to overcome the disconnect that exists so that time, budget and resources can be properly allocated to reduce email phishing risk.”