Organizations should prepare for the inevitability of cyberattacks on their infrastructure

Organizations reliance on technology has contributed to the fact that their attack surface has grown in size and complexity, according to Armis.

attack surface complexity

Global organizations are facing an unprecedented level of cyber risk due to blind spots in their environment and that security teams are being overwhelmed with significant amounts of threat intelligence data lacking actionable insights.

As a result, 61% of organizations confirmed they had been breached at least once over the last 12 months, with 31% experiencing multiple breaches during the same period. The top four countries with organizations most likely to report being breached were the U.S., Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

“Armis continues to warn about the evolving threat landscape and the impact of malicious cyberattacks targeting global organizations, national governments, state and local entities and society overall,” said Curtis Simpson, CISO, Armis. “Our research found that there’s much room for improvement in how global organizations can protect and manage their entire attack surface. It’s not a question of if, but when, an attack will occur – especially against critical infrastructure that society so heavily relies upon.”

Growing use of personal assets in business environments

On an average business day, 55,686 physical and virtual assets are connected to organizational networks. Global respondents shared that only 60% of these assets are monitored, leaving 40% unmonitored.

Employees increasingly are using their own assets in business environments, with clear gaps in the enforcement of BYOD policies: 22% of respondents report having an official BYOD policy that is not enforced across all employees, 23% say they either have guidelines that employees are encouraged to follow or admit they don’t have any policies or guidelines around BYOD.

Organizations, on average, can only account for around 60% of their assets when it comes to knowing things like asset location or the support status of these assets. Forgotten assets, like printers, can introduce critical security gaps – especially if security updates aren’t installed or patches applied.

29% of respondents report that their cybersecurity team is overwhelmed by cyber threat information. Respondents from Germany (38%) were the most likely to report this.

45% of those surveyed report using 10 or more different sources to collect data relating to threat intelligence and only between 52% and 57% of the processes relating to threat intelligence are automated on average, meaning that a lot of the work needed to make use of the intelligence is a manual effort.

Only 58% of the information gathered from threat intelligence sources is actionable, on average. Only 2% of surveyed organizations report that all of the information they gather from threat intelligence sources is actionable.

Unmanaged assets pose cyber risks for organizations

Global respondents indicated that their organizations use 11 different tools to manage assets connected to their network, while 44% admit to still using manual spreadsheets.

Employees are able to bypass security and download applications and software onto assets without the knowledge of IT or security teams. 75%of global organizations report that this happens at least some of the time, with 25% reporting that this is happening all the time. Without complete control, management and/or visibility over these assets, organizations are facing even more risk.

“Unfortunately, there is a correlation between the large percentage of the attack surface remaining unmonitored and the high rate of breaches experienced over the past year,” continued Simpson. “Unmanaged assets represent the growing attack surface yet organizational cyber tools and programs lack the visibility to understand and manage top cyber risks, exposures and threats. Threat actors are exploiting these material blind spots to execute today’s most impactful cyberattacks. It’s critical that IT departments modernize their approach by consolidating disjointed solutions and leveraging the latest innovative technologies to enable teams with real-time, automated insights and actionable plans to help safeguard mission-critical assets from cyber threats.”

“Our research found that there’s much room for improvement in how global organizations manage their threat landscape,” said Katie Haslett, Research Consultant, Vanson Bourne. “Respondents surveyed for this report agreed with that assessment, sharing that proactively increasing visibility into the attack surface and further defining policies and procedures surrounding virtual and physical assets is an area of growth for their organization.”

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