For the last eight years, the Cyberthreat Defense Report has been helping enterprise security professionals gauge their internal practices and security investments against their peers across multiple countries and industries. The report is based upon data from 1,200 qualified IT security professionals from organizations with more than 500 employees, representing 19 industries in 17 countries across the globe.
The report provides comprehensive insight into cyberattacks and data breaches, and explores in detail the techniques that cybercriminals and other bad actors use. Get a free copy of the complete report here.
Here are the top five insights from the report, according to CyberEdge:
- Year-over-year, successful cyberattacks made their biggest jump in six years. In 2021, the percentage of organizations experiencing a successful cyberattack rose to 86%, a 5.5% increase over the prior year. CyberEdge believes this increase is due in large part to the precipitous rise in BYOD policy adoptions that exposed enterprises to unprecedented third-party risks.
- Enterprises are paying more ransoms to cybercriminals to recover data. 69% of organizations have been victimized by ransomware attacks, an all-time high. The percentage of ransom-paying organizations that recover their compromised data has increased steadily in recent years, from 49% in 2018 to 72% in 2021. Cybercriminals have learned that withholding data following payment receipt is bad for business. Unfortunately, this trend has compelled most victims to pay ransoms (57% in 2021), which funds more attacks, resulting in more victims than ever before.
- More enterprises are adopting cloud security solutions. The pandemic has created more interest in cloud-based IT security solutions than ever before. A year ago, 36% of security applications and services were delivered via the cloud. This year, that number has risen to 41%.
- Organizations are slowing down spending on IT security. CyberEdge reports that for the first time since they started tracking spending data, the percentage of a typical IT budget spent on security has remained flat (13%) and not risen. For the first time since they began creating these reports, the percentage of organizations with rising security budgets has fallen (from 85% to 78%), and the average budget increase has also declined (from +5% to +4%). IT security spending is still rising, but at a slower pace than usual.
- There is pessimism in the air. Eight years ago, 38% of respondents reported it was more likely than not that their company would be compromised by a successful cyberattack in the coming year. Today, that number has doubled to 76%. This point corroborates Gartner’s assertion that there are two types of companies in the world: Those that have been breached – and those that don’t know it yet. It is also consistent with Imperva’s research on cyberattacks. Imperva Research Labs predicted that in 2021, the number of breaches will reach 1,500, with up to 40 billion records compromised. In January 2021, Imperva recently reported that more than 870 million records were compromised — more than the total number of compromised records for all of 2017.
What can we learn from these insights?
First, we should know by now that compliance is not enough. To reverse the troubling trends that CyberEdge has identified, all organizations need to make data security, and not just compliance, the core objective of their data protection strategy. Even for those organizations who have implemented traditional compliance-focused strategies in protecting their data, this approach is no longer enough. Most organizations victimized in high-profile data breaches were actually in regulatory compliance. At Imperva, we have delivered data protection technology to more than 6,200 enterprise customers for nearly 20 years. We can say with confidence that continuing to ignore the database security domain is a critical mistake.
Secondly, for large organizations like those that participated in the CyberEdge report, securing entire data estates required a level of commitment that most of them have not made. At the same time, the data security landscape is getting more challenging as the volume of data explodes and the threat surface grows. This is a serious problem, but not an insurmountable one.
Make data visibility the priority
The most important thing any organization can do is create a foundation layer of visibility into the data because this drives everything else. When you make visibility the priority, more often than not you can address most of your compliance requirements. Without sufficient visibility, you won’t know where the data is, and what’s happening with it. You won’t be able to mitigate security risks. To establish some level of baseline behavior, you must know the “6 Ws” of your data. Who’s accessing it, what they’re doing with it, why they need it, where they’re accessing it from, when they’re accessing it, and which servers they’re using.
For security operations teams, with true data visibility comes alert fatigue. It’s imperative to separate out the data to which you need to pay attention. You also need robust User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) and other tools to inform security teams about what activity is truly actionable.
Another part of visibility is the classification of data. For privacy regulation compliance, you must have a consistent and scalable way to discover and catalog sensitive data, like employee data or consumer data, and make it ready for responding to subject rights requests. Inability to do this could result in consequences due to not complying with privacy regulations.
The good news is most organizations can achieve these imperatives with minimal disruption and within their existing budgets. The attacks are going to come. Whether they succeed or not depends on the tools and solutions you have to thwart them and prevent data breaches.
Imperva can help. Contact us to find out more.
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