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Despite spending, businesses still risk cyber breaches

24/08/2016 by Usha Tyagi


Over the past few years, the issue of cybersecurity has become increasingly important as the number of attacks rises. In 2015, over $75 billion was spent by private sector companies around the world on security solutions aimed at protecting data and systems. Analyst firm Gartner said that this is set to continue growing by about 7% per annum. However, despite this spending, many companies continue to remain at risk.

Although a lot of time and money has been invested by companies to shore up their defences and put safeguards in place, it’s largely recognised that firms are still not completely safe from hacks. This isn’t because security solutions are not effective, however; it’s because cyber criminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their attacks, resulting in data breaches soaring over the past couple of years. Ransomware is one of the worst problems, with thieves holding sensitive data hostage until they receive payment.

A number of analysts suggest that because thieves are getting smarter, it’s more challenging than ever to completely protect a firm’s network. Many businesses are yet to deploy analytical solutions to detect possible breaches. Meanwhile, the emergence of cloud computing now means that much sensitive data is held virtually rather than on a more secure central data centre. In addition, company employees aren’t always aware of the complexities involved and, as such, do not properly monitor security software.

Gartner Analyst Avivah Litan said: “Companies are worse off by 100% [with cybersecurity] compared to 10 years ago because the world is more complicated now. We are safer in a way, but criminals – the advanced ones – can still get through. Companies have definitely raised the cybersecurity bar, but criminals can keep going higher than the bar. It’s a cat and mouse game, and when you put in a trap, they find a new technique.”

Litan’s view is based on 12 years as an analyst, and many others in the field agree. IDC’s Robert Westervelt said that although there may be many challenges, there could be a bright future ahead. “I don’t think enterprises have gotten worse as cybersecurity, but they are dealing with complexities that they didn’t have to deal with 10 years ago,” he said, adding that it’s a game of never-ending catch-up.

One thing is clear; it’s unlikely that companies can fully protect themselves from attacks. Therefore, in addition to utilising the latest cybersecurity software, it’s vital that firms have plans in place to minimise the fallout when a breach occurs. 



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