According to the CyberArk Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018, nearly half (46 percent) of IT security professionals rarely change their security strategy substantially - even after experiencing a cyber attack. This level of cyber security inertia and failure to learn from past incidents puts sensitive data, infrastructure and assets at risk.
An overwhelming number of IT security professionals believe that securing an environment starts with protecting privileged accounts: 89 percent stated that IT infrastructure and critical data are not fully protected unless privileged accounts, credentials and secrets are secured.
IT security respondents also indicated that the proportion of users who have local administrative privileges on their endpoint devices increased from 62 percent in the 2016 Advanced Threat Landscape Report survey to 87 percent in 2018: a 25 percent jump and, perhaps, indicative of employee demands for flexibility trumping security best practices.
The survey findings suggest that security inertia has infiltrated many organizations, with an inability to repel or contain cyber threats - and the risks that this might result in - supported by other findings:
- 46 percent say their organization can't prevent attackers from breaking into internal networks each time it is attempted;
- 36 percent report that administrative credentials were stored in Word or Excel documents on company PCs;
- Half (50 percent) admit that their customers' privacy or PII (personally identifiable information) could be at risk because their data is not secured beyond the legally-required basics.
The automated processes inherent in cloud and DevOps mean privileged accounts, credentials and secrets are being created at a prolific rate. If compromised, these can give attackers a crucial jumping-off point to achieve lateral access to sensitive data across networks, data and applications or to use cloud infrastructure for illicit crypto mining activities. Organizations increasingly recognize this security risk, but still have a relaxed approach toward cloud security. The survey found that:
- Nearly half (49 percent) of organizations have no privileged account security strategy for the cloud;
- More than two-thirds (68 percent) defer on cloud security to their vendor, relying on built-in security capabilities;
- 38 percent stated their cloud provider doesn't deliver adequate protection.
Changing the Security Culture
Overcoming cyber security inertia necessitates it becoming central to organizational strategy and behaviour, not something that is dictated by competing commercial needs. According to the survey:
- 86 percent of IT security professionals feel that security should be a regular board-level discussion topic;
- 44 percent said they recognise or reward employees who help prevent an IT security breach, increasing to nearly three quarters (74 percent) in the US.
- Just 8 percent of companies continuously perform Red Team exercises to uncover critical vulnerabilities and identify effective responses.
About the CyberArk Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018
The CyberArk Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018 is the 11th in the series. The survey was conducted by Vanson Bourne across seven countries worldwide.