Every so often, we IT professionals need to step away from the daily grind to see what others in the industry are experiencing, and understand what’s changing—to be certain we have our assumptions, strategies, and execution plans aligned with reality. This has a particular application to security. With threats changing daily, a 2016 security stance may have little ability to protect in 2017. (It sort of gives new meaning to the cliché phrase, “that’s so 2016!”, doesn’t it?)
One of the best ways to get a sense of the state of security today is to turn to a few well respected industry reports, such as the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report. This report provides some great insight into threats and their methods, and what 2900+ organizations are experiencing and doing about them.
In this first of a three-part blog series covering this year’s report, I’ll provide a high-level summary of some of the more interesting findings.
Security is in focus… and in place.
We’re all keenly aware of both the potential threats that exist outside the network perimeter and the availability of solutions to address those threats, and are implementing a formidable defense. In the Cisco report, 58% of organizations describe their security infrastructure as using the best technologies available, with 74% believing it to be very effective or extremely effective.
This powerful security infrastructure is made up of lots and lots of solutions. Nearly two-thirds of organizations (65%) use more than six security solutions. The average number of security professionals employed was 33—while probably not representative of most organizations (this report focuses largely on organizations in the mid-market and larger), it does represent how important security is (and should be).
Despite these favorable numbers—infrastructures that are security nirvana, with tons of little security minions running around everywhere locking everything down—it’s not all roses and butterflies.
Despite the number of solutions and personnel in place, budget constraints remains the number one obstacle to security.
Use of the cloud covers a pretty wide range of situations. This report touches on a few use cases: 57% of organizations are worried about data breaches of information residing in a public cloud, 57% are concerned about the secure use of cloud infrastructure, and 27% see third-party cloud applications introduced by employees (read: shadow IT is alive and well!) as a high security risk.
While the question, “Have you had a breach?”, isn’t asked in this report, Cisco was sneaky enough to determine that answer by asking whether respondents had to manage public scrutiny following a security breach. Nearly half (49%) said they did, implying half of organizations have had some degree of a security breach—one significant enough that it was made public.
While your organization may not fit the demographic of the companies polled for this report, there is still much you can take away from it:
Take a page from this excellent example of the current state of security, and work to improve your own organization’s security posture. In my next blog article covering this report, I’ll focus on the changes we’re seeing in attack behaviors.