Theft of sensitive data, ranging from employee and customer information to intellectual property, remains at the epicenter of the battle between threat actors and the organizations responsible for protection. Consumers and businesses alike are sharing more data across an ever-expanding digital landscape from the cloud and mobile to IoT. So, organizations are increasingly challenged with the delicate balance of data use vs. associated risk.

Recent Facebook, Equifax and Marriott data breaches demonstrate that no organization is immune to risky security practices. However, the consequences incurred by organizations at this scale are a misrepresentation of what small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can potentially face. Armed with massive financial resources, insurance policies, political lobbyists and more, large enterprises have the time, resources and resilience to survive a sensitive data breach whereas SMBs are faced with an ultimatum: evolve or perish.

Unfortunately, evolution at the speed necessary for SMBs to stay competitive requires weighing potential business success vs. business risk. While risk is unavoidable, a sensitive data breach does not have to be.

Today, eSentire released a new report on sensitive data security entitled Know Your Enemy. Know Your Risk.  The report explores the mind of a hacker, analyzing their motivations for penetrating cyber defenses, their methods and the most effective ways to reduce your risk. According to the research, only 50% of organizations think their sensitive data is secure, and a mere 3% of hackers agree, which shows that it’s not just a question of financial gain. Hackers enjoy the challenge, status and fun that comes from breaking into the most sensitive information. The more sensitive the data is, the higher the probability that hackers will attack it.

Knowing your enemy is the first step to protecting your organization. The second step is identifying the threats and minimizing your risks. After reading the report findings, you will have a clearer sense of the following information:

  • How many businesses have reported a data breach, and how much it cost them
  • Why hackers attack sensitive data (hint: it’s not always for the money)
  • How hackers get the information they need to breach the most secure environments

eSentire’s research indicates there is a collective lack of confidence that security teams have adequate ability to detect, respond and contain threats in a timely fashion. Organizations must also consider the financial risk related to their sensitive data and subsequent gaps that must be filled to mitigate unacceptable levels of risk.

Most SMBs can take preventative measures, such as training employees to take extra precaution in their personal and professional online activities. However, this only goes so far to mitigate the inevitable risk of human error. Further investment in the process and technology necessary to leverage a Security Operations Center (SOC) can be very costly – and many SMBs are not prepared to make the investment. For organizations that lack the expertise or budget necessary to build an internal SOC, Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services are a viable alternative to complement an existing security team’s capabilities.

To learn more about eSentire’s Managed Detection and Response, visit here.

About the research

This report draws from eSentire Security Operations Center (SOC) data reflective of over 650 organizations spread over more than 50 countries, a survey conducted in May 2019 by eSentire of 300 North American IT Security professionals and reputable independent research and industry sources including Ponemon Institute and Gartner.

MarkSangster1
Mark Sangster
Vice President and Industry Security Strategist

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Articles and reports written by eSentire staff and our Threat Intelligence Research Group.

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