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Enterprises Struggle to Combat Insider Threats

There has been an escalation of insider threats in enterprises over the last twelve months, marked by the relative inability of organizations to combat or prevent them. 

Watchful Software’s Insider Threat Spotlight Report found that 62% of security professionals say that insider threats have become more frequent in the last 12 months. Yet, fewer than half of respondents believe their organizations have appropriate controls to prevent insider attacks, and 62% of respondents say that insider attacks are far more difficult to detect and prevent than external attacks.

The report also points to privileged users, such as managers with access to sensitive information, as posing the biggest insider threat to organizations (59%), followed by contractors and consultants (48%), and regular employees (46%). Respondents are slightly more concerned about inadvertent data breaches (57%) than malicious breaches (53%).

Data leaks are of the most concern (63%), and no wonder, given their financial implications: 38% of survey respondents estimated data breach remediation costs to reach up to $500,000 per insider attack, while 64% of respondents said they “found it difficult to estimate the damage of a successful insider attack.”

Databases (57%) and file servers (55%) are considered most vulnerable to insider attacks, since this is where the majority of sensitive data resides.

Shockingly, despite the obvious need to address the issue, only 34% expect additional budget to put additional insider threat safeguards in place.

“It is important to take stock of the magnitude of the cyber-breach problem today as we continue to face data breaches of ever-increasing size and regularity,” said Charles Foley, chairman and CEO at Watchful Software. “We are pleased to be a supporter of The Insider Threat Spotlight Report as it is a strong, comprehensive tool with valuable insights for organizations to use in understanding the key data security threats they face today, allowing them to begin the conversation about preventing further losses.”

The findings dovetail with a recent Vormetric/Ovum survey, which found that just more than half (54%) of the German and UK respondents believe that privileged users pose the biggest risk to their organization—a substantial step up from 38% in last year’s study.

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