Survey: Corporate security thwarted by dialog failure between IT dept. and management

Ponemon survey of 4,881 IT and security practitioners also shows many want total security-product overhaul to counter advanced persistent threats.

So talk to me!

That ‘s what security professionals should be doing with business management executives, but the problem is, it isn’t really happening, according to a Ponemon Institute survey of over 4,800 IT and security practitioners in companies around the world who were asked how often discussions about security risks actually occurred. According to this study, about a third of those surveyed said they never speak to business management executives unless contacted, and about a quarter said formal discussions about security risk happen only once annually.

One consequence of this disconnect in formal communication is that executive management often remains uninformed about the nature of security threats confronting the organization and IT security teams struggle to get what they deem to be adequate budgets.  

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“They just don’t get enough budget for what they’re defending,” says Jeff Debrosse, director of security research at Websense, which sponsored the Ponemon study “Exposing the Cybersecurity Cracks: A Global Perspective.”

Other questions posed to these 4,881 IT and security pros from 15 countries was how they feel about their current security product deployments. Twenty-nine percent said if they had the resources and opportunity they would “do a complete overhaul of their current enterprise security system.” That desire may stem from what they now rank as their top worries which relate to advanced persistent threats (APT) and data exfiltration of valuable and sensitive data by stealthy attacks, according to the study. Other kinds of security threats, such as distributed Denial-of-service attacks, figured far less.

“Security teams are calling for a complete security refresh,” says Debrosse. IT and security professionals are watching how a new array of APT-combatting technologies are emerging, and they’re wondering what affordable choices might be and how to get the budget for them.

Another question sought to get a sense of how widespread data theft might be when it happens due to an employee or other insider stealing it. When asked how common it is for corporate data to be stolen due to the insider threat, 76% of the respondents said a colleague at another company confided that intellectual property and customer data primarily had been stolen by insiders.

The Ponemon study also showed a mixed bag in terms of cybersecurity education being provided to employees at these companies which include a wide range of financial services, public sector, industrial, retailing, energy, healthcare and more. About half of the corporations in the study did provide some kind of formal training to employees, about half didn’t and 4% said they did plan to in the next 12 months.

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