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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cyberattacks biggest detriment to companies worldwide

Cybercriminals are pulling out all of the stops and targeting both highly valuable corporate data and sensitive customer information at an alarming rate.

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The global security market is receiving more attention than ever. Cybercriminals are pulling out all of the stops and targeting both highly valuable corporate data and sensitive customer information at an alarming rate, placing greater emphasis on solutions that keep these resources safeguarded at all times.

A recent Ernst & Young (EY) survey found that only 17 percent of organizations' information security fully meet their requirements. During the past year, 93 percent of respondents have kept their budgets the same or increased spending for added protection. Funding restraints are considered the most significant hindrance to businesses.

"This year's survey shows that organizations are moving in the right direction, but more still needs to be done - urgently," said Paul van Kessel, global risk leader at EY. "There are promising signs that the issue is now gaining traction at the highest levels. In 2012, none of the information security professionals surveyed reported to senior executives - in 2013 this jumped to 35 percent."

Although businesses appear to be spending more for information security tools, such options are not delivering the right results. Overall, 31 percent of organizations said that the number of security incidents within their companies has increased by at least 5 percent in the past year.

Security breaches can be a detriment to any type of company, especially if customer information is stolen or exposed. Businesses that want to maintain a safe working environment should consider employing secure file sharing solutions to make sure any data sent, received or stored by staff members is safeguarded from threats. Doing so may be the difference between maintaining healthy relationships with consumers and seeing people take their business elsewhere if they feel their information is vulnerable.

Ken Allan, global information security leader at EY, asserted that cybercrime is the biggest threat to businesses today.

"While budget allocations toward security innovation are inching their way up, enabling organizations to channel more resources toward innovating solutions that can protect them against the great unknown - the future - many information security professionals continue to feel that their budgets are insufficient to address mounting cyber risks," Allan said.

All organizations struggling with security
A separate survey of 3,529 IT and security professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that every organization had experienced at least one breach in the past two years, with more than half of respondents saying that both the frequency and severity of such events have grown in this time frame. These results are especially concerning given the fact that all companies are failing to keep attackers at bay.

The study also found that it takes firms an average of 80 days to determine the cause of the breach and another 123 days to address the vulnerability. Each incident against user accounts and corporate applications cost businesses $840,000 per event, while non-malicious breaches that damage a brand's reputation cost organizations an average of $470,000.

Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said the survey's results confirm that companies are facing an increasing number of malicious attacks and they simply lack the resources, staff and solutions to fight off such incidents from occurring.

"Meanwhile, months are passing as their key information assets are left exposed. The results demonstrate a clear need for greater and faster visibility - as well as a need to know the root cause of the breaches themselves - in order to close this persistent window of exposure," Ponemon added.

Businesses that take months to even notice when a breach has a occurred are in a precarious position with their customers. If consumer data is exposed and companies do not even know it yet, people will likely lose faith in that firm and stop patronizing it for good. Also, organizations may be required to pay hefty fines for failing to follow compliance regulations.

Secure file sharing tools should be a standard for any corporate environment that is constantly sending and receiving data. Businesses using such solutions can minimize the potential impact of a breach by stopping events from happening in the first place.