Companies spending $6M on ransomware mitigation: Is it working?

A CBI and Ponemon Institute research report, based on a survey of IT and security professionals, takes a comprehensive look at companies’ ransomware strategies and mitigation tactics and the operational impact of incidents. Eighty percent of companies surveyed have experienced a ransomware attack, despite spending an average of $6 million annually on ransomware mitigation resources.

companies ransomware strategies mitigation

Companies’ ransomware strategies and mitigation tactics

  • Only 32% are confident in their security controls, indicating the need to use more effective approaches to prevent ransomware attacks
  • 75% are concerned about the ransomware risks posed by third parties, but only 36% of organizations evaluate their third parties’ security and privacy practices
  • The average ransomware payment is approximately $1 million

“Ransomware incident preparedness and mitigation remains one of the biggest challenges facing organizations regardless of their size, but it doesn’t mean it has to be one of the biggest budget allocations. Organizations need to gain confidence in their approaches, technologies, personnel and tactics. Part of building that confidence is admitting where there are gaps and collaborating with strong partners to fill those gaps,” says Shaun Bertrand, CSO at CBI.

The report found that companies are spending $170,000 per ransomware incident on staffing alone, with an average of 14 staff members each spending 190 hours on containment and remediation activities. The group’s report also uncovered that there is a significant lack of trust in the ransomware alerts respondents receive as nearly one out of two weekly alerts are considered unreliable.

Paying the ransom

Fifty-three percent of companies who experienced an attack paid the ransom. The most common reason given for paying the ransom was to avoid operational downtime. Of those who did not pay, 39% said they did not pay because they had an effective backup strategy.

However, 55% of organizations felt that full and accurate data backups are not enough to properly mitigate a ransomware incident, likely because, in 41% of cases, sensitive data was also exfiltrated during the attack.

Ransomware attacks continue diversifying

Organizations’ attack surfaces are continuing to evolve and expand, leading to more diversified attacks and concerns about attack frequency and preparedness. Sixty-seven percent of respondents acknowledge that their company’s IoT device usage increases their risks of ransomware. While companies understand the seriousness of ransomware attacks, only 33% are highly confident in their companies’ response ability.

Larry Ponemon, Ph.D., Chairman and Founder of Ponemon Institute, noted, “The cost per incident will continue to increase, and the types of attacks will continue to evolve. What’s most striking is the vast majority of organizations are not doing enough to evaluate the security of their third parties. These findings should be a wakeup call and motivate organizations to evolve their ransomware mitigation playbooks.”

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