November 6, 2020

IDG Study - Protecting the Human Side of Cybersecurity

Jim Fulton

While the number of data breaches is lower in 2020 compared to 2019, cybercrime remains a major concern. According to data from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), it’s not uncommon to see weeks with dozens of breaches, just in the United States. In fact, there were 174 breaches in August 2020 alone.

According to a recent survey conducted in May 2020 by IDG of over 100 IT leaders, one major problem is securing the hundreds of apps that their companies have deployed in the cloud. Over half of respondents (52%) listed securing those apps as “very” or “extremely” challenging and only 1% of them thought it wasn’t a challenge at all. 

Employees are Remote, Data is Everywhere

According to the survey, remote working presents a number of security challenges. Workers are use multiple devices that need to be secured (50%), tracking and managing cloud assets (41%), and data backup and recovery (40%), which are generally the most common challenges of remote workers from an IT perspective. Shadow IT is also a challenge, with 43% of the respondents listing it as their number one security issue.

Blocking every non-approved application would certainly help, but it would also impact employee efficiency and undermine some of the advantages of remote work.

Behavioral Analytics May Hold the Key

Behavioral analytics in the cybersecurity realm refers to the use of software tools to detect individual behavior patterns that might be high risk and the alerting IT managers.2 In other words, behavioral analytics can shine a light on the human element that plays a role in almost any cybersecurity incident. 

Among the companies reporting the largest number of applications, a majority tend to favor behavioral analytics technology, with 65% either currently deploying it or planning to. Among those that do use it, 46% find it to be the single most useful cloud security technology. They also tend to be less concerned about data loss than other companies. 


3 Ways to Close Security Gaps

When it comes to identifying and closing their security gaps, survey respondents favored these three habits: 

  1. Review Processes, Change Passwords, and Audit for Threats: Look for hidden data sources by inspecting the business processes, applications used, and data involved in that particular business process. Encourage frequent password changes and conduct threat audits often.
  2. Monitoring and tracking: Turn on your cloud security notifications, use intrusion detection systems (IDSs) to spot interlopers and use identity and access management (IAM) to limit and track employee access.
  3. Technology solutions: Try out different technologies that monitor access and alerts. Use security information and event management (SIEM) solutions to identify and stop breaches, but don't rely too heavily on it. SIEM fails to give you a full view of user behavior and tends to generate more noise than insight.

The use of cloud-based applications continues to explode. But securing those apps and preventing data loss has presented enterprise companies with a major challenge. The companies that seem to be faring better are the ones using behavioral analytics and focus on the user as the security perimeter, not the infrastructure. It's still early days for behavioral analytics cybersecurity, but with 59% of companies, according to IDG, planning to use it by 2021, it clearly has a lot of traction. 

To see more findings and learn more about behavioral analytics cybersecurity, download the IDG Market Pulse Study, “Protecting the Human Side of Cybersecurity.” 

Jim Fulton

Jim Fulton serves as VP Product Marketing & Analyst Relations, focused on SASE, SSE and Zero Trust data security. He has been delivering enterprise access and security products for more than 20 years and holds a degree in Computer Science from MIT.

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About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.