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IT professionals lose sleep worrying about cybersecurity


IT professionals lose sleep worrying about cybersecurity threats, according to a new survey by Sophos.

The new survey identifies a two-speed cybersecurity race with adversaries pulling ahead and defenders are unable to keep pace. It also highlights the impact to businesses and IT staff from an economic, strategic and health perspective.

Key findings include: 94 per cent of organisations experiencing a cyberattack of some form in the last year; 93 per cent find the execution of essential security operations tasks challenging; 15 hours is the median time to detect, investigate and respond to an alert in 3,001-5,000 employee organisations; Security tool mis-configuration is the top perceived security risk in 2023; 52 per cent say that cyberthreats are now too advanced for their organisation to deal with on their own and 57 per cent of IT professionals lose sleep worrying about the organisation being hit by a cyberattack.

To slow down adversaries and accelerate defenders, businesses need to supercharge their operation with the best technology and employ an expert team of human threat hunters.

The new survey report, The State of Cybersecurity 2023: The Business Impact of Adversaries on Defenders’, which found that, globally, 93 per cent of organisations find the execution of some essential security operation tasks, such as threat hunting, challenging.

These challenges also include understanding how an attack happened, with 75 per cent of respondents stating they have challenges identifying the root cause of an incident. This can make proper remediation difficult, leaving organisations vulnerable to repetitive and/or multiple attacks, by the same or different adversaries, especially since 71 per cent of those surveyed also reported challenges with timely remediation.

In addition, 71 per cent said they have challenges understanding which signals/alerts to investigate, and the same percent reported challenges prioritising investigations.

“Only one fifth of respondents considered vulnerabilities and remote services a top cybersecurity risk for 2023, yet the ground truth is that these are routinely exploited by Active Adversaries. This cascade of operational issues means that these organisations aren’t seeing the full picture and are potentially acting on incorrect information. There’s nothing worse than being confidently wrong. Having external audits and monitoring helps eliminate blind spots. We can look at you the way an attacker does,” said John Shier, field CTO, commercial, Sophos.

Additional findings include: 52 per cent of organisations surveyed said that cyberthreats are now too advanced for their organisation to deal with on their own; 64 per cent wish the IT team could spend more time on strategic issues and less time on firefighting, and 55 per cent said that the time spent on cyberthreats has impacted the IT team’s work on other projects, and while 94 per cent said they are working with external specialists to scale their operations, the majority still remain involved with managing threats rather than taking a fully outsourced approach.

“Today’s threats require a timely and coordinated response. Unfortunately, too many organisations are stuck in reactive mode. Not only is this having an impact on core business priorities, but it also has a sizeable human toll, with over half of respondents stating that cyberattacks are keeping them up at night. Eliminating the guesswork and applying defensive controls based on actionable intelligence will let IT teams focus on enabling the business instead of trying to douse the eternal flame of active attacks,” said Shier.

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