Threat management, also called cyber threat management, is a framework that cybersecurity experts use to keep track of a threat over its entire life cycle. The goal of a threat management strategy is to stay ahead of threats by finding them and responding quickly and correctly. This is done by integrating people, processes, and technologies in a way that works well together. As risks get bigger, move faster, and become more complicated, threat management becomes increasingly crucial for businesses.
According to the 2020 State of SecOps and Automation report, 56% of large companies handle at least 1000 alerts per day. Along with the increasing volume of threats, the skills shortage and increased cost of data breaches are emerging as major concerns. The latest findings from the Ponemon Institute indicate that the average cost of a data breach increased by 2.6%, from USD 4.24 million in 2021 to USD 4.35 million in 2022, a 12.7% jump from USD 3.86 million in the 2020 report.
Growing numbers of remote workers
One of the primary reasons for the increased number of cyberattacks is the growth of the remote workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in people working from home, creating a new set of security challenges. As a result, organizations must work hard to protect their networks and data from threats that originate outside their physical premises.
Remote workers can use their devices or work via unsecured networks, increasing the risk of security incidents. Additionally, the shift to remote work has increased the use of cloud-based services and applications, which can also increase the number of cyberattacks. For example, one study found that phishing emails grew 600% in the first half of 2020, while another observed that phishing attacks targeting remote workers increased by 300%.
Secondly, ransomware attacks have become more frequent and sophisticated. IDC's 2021 Ransomware Study shows that 37% of global organizations have experienced ransomware. These attacks can cripple an organization by encrypting its data and demanding a ransom to restore access. As organizations employ complex countermeasures to combat ransomware, attackers respond with increasingly sophisticated infiltration techniques.
Ransomware attacks severely impact an organization's operations and bottom line. In addition to paying the ransom, organizations may have to deal with lost productivity, loss of sensitive data, legal fees, and damage to their reputation.
The proliferation of IoT devices
Thirdly, the growth of the Internet of Things has further expanded the threat surface. IoT devices such as smart cameras, thermostats, and medical devices can be hacked to compromise secure operations.
According to a report by Gartner, the number of connected devices will reach 25 billion by 2021 and 75 billion by 2025. This rapid growth of IoT devices has led to increased cyberattacks targeting these devices. The same report also predicts that by 2022, 25% of cyberattacks will involve IoT, an increase from 5% in 2019.
The 2022 Cost of Insider Threats Report indicates that insider threats have increased by 44% over the last two years, and costs per incident have risen to $15.38 million. Insider threats are more damaging than external threats since infiltrators have comparatively unrestricted access to sensitive information and systems. The report also indicates that the three most common types of insider threats are accidental data breaches, malicious cyber incidents, and theft of physical assets.
The financial impact of insider threats can be significant, including the costs associated with investigating and responding to the incident, lost productivity, and revenue. Additionally, insider threats can lead to reputational damage that is difficult to quantify but has long-term consequences for an organization.
Supply chain vulnerabilities
Gartner predicts that 45% of firms will have experienced supply chain attacks by 2025, a threefold increase from 2021. By exploiting digital supply chain vulnerabilities, cyberattackers can access a company's networks, steal data, and disrupt operations, resulting in financial losses and reputational damage. It is difficult to protect against supply chain vulnerabilities because cyber attackers typically target the weakest link in the supply chain.
Detecting and preventing attacks can be difficult with hundreds of IT vendors in the chain. Furthermore, the cybersecurity standards of third-party vendors may be lower than those of the organization. As a result, despite being aware of the risk, the company may be unable to impose its standards on its vendors.
According to a WSJ article, evolving regulatory demands are a top concern for 2023. Evolving legislation and regulations pose a significant risk as they increase the likelihood of companies failing to comply knowingly or unknowingly.
Data privacy regulations include the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA); the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Cybersecurity Regulation; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-HIPAA; the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard—PCI DSS); cybersecurity standards (ISO 27001 and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework), and digital services and networks (Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive). Noncompliance with these cybersecurity laws and regulations can result in penalties, fines, and reputational harm.
In conclusion, threat management is a top priority for businesses today because it is essential for protecting an organization's assets and ensuring the continuity of its operations. With the right threat management strategies in place, organizations can reduce the likelihood and impact of security incidents and protect their assets and operations.
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