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IT deficit

A survey of nearly 5000 global IT security people found a deficit in enterprise security systems, a disconnect in how confidential data is valued and limited visibility into cybercriminal activity. So says Websense , Inc which released the Ponemon Institute survey, “Exposing the Cybersecurity Cracks: A Global Perspective”.

John McCormack, Websense CEO, said: “This global security report shows that the cybersecurity industry still has more work to do when it comes to addressing cyber-attacks. Security professionals need effective security measures and heightened security intelligence to keep organisations safe from advanced attacks and data loss. This need is what drives the Websense commitment to continued security innovation and significant Websense TRITON solution development.”

The survey was of IT security practitioners with an average of 10 years’ experience in the field from 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, UK and the United States. Findings suggested a global consensus that security people need access to heightened threat intelligence and defences:

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents do not think their organisation is protected from advanced cyber attacks and 63 per cent doubt they can stop the exfiltration of confidential information.

Most respondents (69 per cent) believe cybersecurity threats sometimes fall through the cracks of their companies’ existing security systems.

Forty-four per cent of companies represented in this research experienced one or more substantial cyber attacks in the past year.

Fifty-nine per cent of companies do not have adequate intelligence or are unsure about attempted attacks and their impact. Further, 51 per cent say their security solutions do not inform them about the root causes of an attack or they are unsure.


According to respondents, there is a gap between data breach perception and reality – specifically regarding the potential revenue loss to their business. Eighty per cent of respondents say their company’s leaders do not equate losing confidential data with a potential loss of revenue. This is in contrast to recent Ponemon Institute research, which indicates that data breaches have serious financial consequences for organisations. The average cost per lost or stolen record due to a data breach is $188 and the average cost of an organisational data breach is $5.4 million.

Forty-eight per cent say their board-level executives have a sub-par understanding of security issues. However, Websense believes that cybersecurity awareness has most likely increased from that of a few years ago. Less than half of the respondents (41 per cent) believe they have a good understanding about the threat landscape facing their company.

Only 37 per cent of respondents could say with certainty that their organisation lost sensitive or confidential information as a result of a cyber attack. And thirty-five per cent of those who had lost sensitive or confidential information did not know exactly what data had been stolen.

Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said: “While there are significant differences among countries for specific questions (such as availability of cyber attack intelligence), the overall analysis indicates that a majority of security professionals do not feel adequately armed to defend their organisations from threats. This challenge is further compounded by a perception that company leaders do not believe that data breaches will lead to loss of revenue. Our research has shown this is simply untrue.”

The report also includes conclusions drawn from the data and recommendations for addressing the exposed cracks in current cyber-security. A copy of the report, including survey methodology, consolidated results and individual response rates by country is available at


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