Organizations struggle to manage cyberthreats without automation

Report details how many organizations lack faith in their security systems to manage an ever-expanding digital landscape.

Why cybersecurity is a big problem for small businesses Cybersecurity attacks can cripple small businesses that aren't prepared. TechRepublic's Karen Roby talks with a security expert about ransomware, phishing attacks, and inadequate IT defense plans.

Organizations are still struggling to expand their security measures as more and more systems go digital, according to a survey from security company Fidelis.

The Fidelis State of Threat Detection and Response Report surveyed an array of digital decision makers in a variety of fields. Survey respondents listed a lack of automation and system-wide visibility as the main security issues facing their organizations.

SEE: Password managers: How and why to use them (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium)

"As organizations continue to see their cyber terrain expand--69% of respondents in our survey said their terrain is expanding--it will only get harder to maintain visibility and mitigate threats in a proactive manner through automation, threat intelligence and threat hunting," the study said.

Other highly ranked concerns include too many alerts from security tools, few integrated solutions, lackluster threat intelligence, and a weak stable of qualified analysts.

"As cyber terrains continue to grow, the likelihood of unidentified blind spots grows too. Organizations are under immense pressure to close these visibility gaps in their systems, especially in the direct aftermath of a security incident. This leads many organizations to execute their cybersecurity strategy in a much more reactive manner than they would like," the study said. 

C-suite concerns

The study broke down some of the responses by position, illustrating the chief concerns for every level of a company. C-suite respondents said they shared the same concerns as they did last year: The inability to automate security responses, and in turn cut down on alerts, was highly ranked on the survey by organization executives. Executives also wanted better systems that provided a clearer understanding of the security landscape.

In addition, the study reported that nearly half of respondents (49%) either did not have visibility of their entire cyber terrain or did not know the level of visibility of their terrain. A little less than half (42%) of respondents were not confident in their ability to identify vulnerable assets on their network. And over half of respondents (55%) did not have strategically placed sensors to prevent blind spots or did not know if their sensors were strategically placed.

"This means that roughly half of respondents could easily have malicious actors (insider or external) hiding in the blind spots of the cyber terrain," the study continued.

Architect and engineer issues

Architects and engineers had many of the same concerns as executives but told Fidelis that one of their biggest issues revolves around limited security systems that are unable to give them a full view of all security concerns. 

According to the report, short-term fixes become part of the larger problem. This is hardest felt by organizations who struggle to contend with a widespread cyber skills gap and do not have automated capabilities to mitigate. These problems are further compounded in organizations that do not currently have tailored threat intelligence or the ability to execute advanced threat hunting methodologies.

When Fidelis did the survey last year, architects and engineers listed the same problems, showing organizations struggled to keep up with the needs of their security officials

Lack of confidence prevails

Analysts and researchers listed similar concerns as the first two groups but added that the organizations needed better systems that could provide sophisticated threat intelligence that could be acted on. Many who responded to the survey said even the systems they did have were not being used to their full potential.

This was a common sentiment, as less than 7% of organizations that participated in the survey said they thought their security systems were being used to its full capacity. More than 30% told Fidelis they did not believer their preventative defenses were effective against targeted attacks. This was especially true for respondents in the healthcare sector. 

In almost every industry, about a third of survey responses represented a complete lack of confidence in their organization's security systems. Only about 12% said they were "highly confident" in their security measures.

The survey did find that enterprises were doing more to hunt threats before they cropped up, with about 45% saying their organizations were actively working on it, and another 25% saying they were planning to. Most of the organizations avoiding threat hunting said they did so because they lacked the capacity, time, and employees to do it. 

Also see

System Security Specialist Working at System Control Center. Room is Full of Screens Displaying Various Information.

Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff