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Accenture: One Third of Targeted Attacks Are Successful

One in three targeted attacks against multi-nationals result in a security breach, with a small majority (51%) taking months to detect the incursion, according to a major new survey from Accenture.

The global consultancy polled 2000 enterprise security professionals from $1 billion+ companies in 15 countries to compile its report, Building Confidence: Facing the Cybersecurity Conundrum.

It found a worrying disconnect between the reality on the ground and organizations’ cybersecurity strategies.

For example, despite respondents claiming internal breaches have the biggest impact, 58% are focused on perimeter-based prevention.

Just 37% said they’re confident about being able to effectively monitor for breaches and only 36% said the same about minimizing disruptions – two essential activities to combat targeted attacks.

In addition, between 44% and 54% are “doubling down” on existing spending priorities like protecting customer data, company reputation and corporate info, rather than mitigating financial loss (28%) or investing in training (17%).

It’s no surprise then that 26% of UK respondents and 30% of US respondents said they take a year or more to detect an attack. This is despite the vast majority (75%) claiming they’re confident in their ability to protect the enterprise.

Richard Morris, CEO of Intercede, argued that visibility into who is trying to access the corporate network is the vital first step in threat defense.

“Unfortunately, too much time is still spent ‘mopping up’ after a breach in many businesses. With the continued reliance by many companies on insecure username and passwords to protect valuable data, it is an almost impossible task for the security team to keep track of who and what is accessing the network,” he added.

“But it doesn’t need to be this way – there are infinitely more secure identity management solutions available that will enable the CISO to know that if employee ‘X’ is logging onto the network, that it is the real employee ‘X’, and not an imposter.”

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security firm, High-Tech Bridge, argued that the figure of 1 in 3 could actually be even higher – estimating over 90% of well-planned targeted attacks are successful.

“Especially large companies have a major challenge when detecting intrusions, as cybercriminals usually target their branch offices, partners, suppliers or even shareholders that don’t have such a high level of defense, but have access to the same data,” he claimed.

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