75 percent of enterprises have been hit by multi-million dollar cyber attacks


Wow. That's quite a statistic, but there it is in front of me jumping off the pages of the latest global State of Enterprise Security study from Symantec. The two lines shining so brightly and grabbing my attention read "75 percent of organizations experienced cyber attacks in the past 12 months" and "these attacks cost enterprise businesses an average of $2 million per year". I'll say it again, wow!

Maybe that is not so surprising when you consider that the report states that every enterprise, yes 100 percent, experienced cyber losses in 2009. The top three losses being intellectual property theft, customer credit card data theft and the theft of other personally identifiable customer data. These losses translated into a financial cost 92 percent of the time mainly in terms of productivity, revenue, and tanking customer trust.

Of course, as I have said before the math is always hard on the brain when you read these reports. That 75 percent figure is revealed immediately after we are informed that apparently 42 percent of organisation consider that security is the number one consideration for their business, beating off competition from such things as natural disaster and terrorism and traditional crime. In fact, it is a bigger concern than all three of those things combined. The disparity between the two could, of course, be partly down to another revelation in the report: enterprise security is becoming more difficult due to understaffing, new IT initiatives that intensify security issues and IT compliance issues.

When it comes to understaffing, network security is the biggest problem for 44 percent of those responding, with endpoint security sharing the honours also on 44 percent. There there are the initiatives that IT rated as most problematic from a security standpoint include infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a service, server virtualisation, endpoint virtualisation, and software-as-a-service. And not forgetting compliance, with your typical enterprise having to explore no less than 19 separate IT standards or frameworks and employ around eight of them.

"Protecting information today is more challenging than ever" said Francis deSouza, senior vice president, Enterprise Security, Symantec Corp. "By putting in place a security blueprint that protects their infrastructure and information, enforces IT policies, and manages systems more efficiently, businesses can increase their competitive edge in today’s information-driven world.”

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...