Expert opinion: What’s causing today’s IT security gap?

December 20, 2018 8:26 am


Author: Rabih Itani, Regional Business Development Manager, Security, Middle East, and Turkey at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

What’s stopping global businesses from protecting their assets despite significant investments in cybersecurity programmes? That’s the question we asked ourselves when trying to determine what the reasons are behind the dangerous gap in modern IT security.

We define the gap as the inability of an organization’s people, processes and technologies to keep up with a constantly changing threat landscape. And, given that data breaches are now so common that on average 58 records are stolen every second, we know it’s a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

Here’s a closer look at some of the hurdles that are stopping businesses from identifying, detecting, containing and resolving data breaches and other security incidents in an IoT era.

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Expanding and blurring the line of the corporate perimeter

Firstly, it’s no secret that the volume of IoT devices connecting to corporate networks has exploded – eclipsing that of the global population. This level of proliferation is impacting the requirements each organization has when it comes to network security. Over half (55%) of respondents from our global study with The Ponemon Institute said it is hard to protect the expanding and blurring IT perimeter considering IoT, especially with BYOD, cloud and the opening up of networks to partners.  A clear lack in security strategy around IoT is only compounding this problem. In fact, only 24% of respondents said that their organization’s IoT devices are appropriately secured with a proper security strategy in place.

Tackling the security issue without the skills and expertise

A big part of this problem is rooted in the difficulty organizations have in recruiting security staff with the necessary skills and expertise to protect complex and dynamically changing attack surfaces. Half of Ponemon’s respondents said staff lack the crucial expertise to match the risks these attackers and corresponding threats present, citing it as the main reason behind security gaps.

Accountability is another issue for consideration. When asked who inside their organization was responsible for IoT security, responses ranged from CTO, CIO, CISO and line-of-business leaders. Lack of ownership, of course, impacts the ability of an organization to tackle complex cybersecurity threats – as there is no clear consensus over where the responsibility lies.

Read: 7 Cyber intelligence insights for a more secure business

A disconnect on IT process and training

In addition to this, employees lack security understanding. For example, in a previous study, over 70% of global employees revealed they were compromising network security by sharing passwords and devices.  It’s these kinds of behaviors that can cause immense damage. Just imagine an employee with local administrator rights disabling security solutions on their PC. It could allow an infection to spread onto the entire corporate network.

To keep up with these threats and future-proof against the insider threat, of course, training is valuable, but we also need to keep ahead of sophisticated and well-financed attackers by being able to act with speed and deep visibility into user activity. That way we can spot potential changes in behavior and respond quickly enough to threats before it is too late.

Read Stay protected: Top 5 cybersecurity predictions for 2019

Closing the gap: pairing human and technical

People and process must be prioritized if we’re to close the IT security gap, but there are also technical steps that can support organizations in tackling these hurdles while also augmenting the existing work security staff are doing.

And businesses are starting to catch on. We know from Ponemon’s study that more than a quarter of security professionals are already embedding AI into security systems. Doing so, they’re able to reduce false positives, improve the efficiency of security investigations and detect attacks that are evading traditional perimeter defenses.

Using a combination of AI and machine learning, IT staff can recognize, profile and connect every device accessing their network, giving each its own risk profile, and raising an alert if unusual behavior is detected. In fact, over half (64%) of IT professionals confirmed that these new technologies, like machine learning, are needed to discover and understand threats that are active in the IT infrastructure. A similar number (51%) agreed that AI technologies like machine learning and behavioral analytics are essential to detecting attacks on the inside before they do damage.

Against this backdrop, AI-based security tools, which can automate tasks and free up IT personnel to manage other aspects of a security programme, were viewed as critical for helping businesses keep up with increasing threat levels. What steps are you taking to address the IT security gap? Read here to find out more about Aruba’s thinking on behavioral analytics, automated security and its role in the workplace so we can start getting ahead of security threats.

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AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.



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