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."

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Davey Winder

I've been a freelance word punk for more than two decades and for the last few years an Editorial Fellow at Dennis Publishing. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011. As well as working for DaniWeb I have been a Contributing Editor with PC Pro (the best selling IT magazine in the UK) for twenty years.

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