Call it a perfect storm of cyber insecurity: A new survey report from HP finds that at the same time cyber threats are on the rise, IT teams are having a harder time delivering security support.
The HP report comes just as the Biden administration issued a related directive. It requires nearly all U.S. executive branch agencies and departments to patch approximately 200 cybersec vulnerabilities considered to be major risks.
“Every day, our adversaries are using known vulnerabilities to target federal agencies,” said Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement.
The HP report, produced by the company’s Wolf Security unit, is based on 2 surveys. One is a Toluna online survey of 1,100 IT decision-makers in 7 countries including the U.S. The other was a YouGov online survey of 8,433 adults in the same 7 countries who worked from home during the pandemic.
Here are highlights from the HP Wolf Security report:
Shadow IT is growing: Nearly half of office workers (45%) bought IT equipment to support home working in the last year. But as shown by the chart below (courtesy of HP), only about half of workers had IT check or install their new gear.
Phishing works: Three-quarters of IT teams say they’ve seen a rise in the number of employees who open malicious emails and click on dangerous links. And about half of home workers admit they’ve clicked on a malicious email. Yet 70% of them failed to report it to IT. A quarter didn’t think it was important, 1 in 5 said it was too much of a hassle, and about 1 in 10 feared reprisal.
Rebuild rates are up: PCs get rebuilt after a known infection, and roughly 8 in 10 IT teams say the number of rebuilds has risen during the pandemic. But the problem could be even worse. 8 in 10 IT teams worry that employee devices might be compromised without the employees realizing it.
IT support is faltering: Over 8 in 10 IT teams say the pandemic has put a bigger strain on tech support. The cost of providing security support has risen, on average, by 52%. And three-quarters of IT teams say the amount of time required to triage a threat has increased in the past year. Put it all together, and you can see why 77% of IT managers worry about their staff feeling so overworked and burnt out, they’ll quit.
What’s the cyber solution? HP Wolf Security recommends several things, including:
> Employ tools for greater endpoint visibility — you can’t manage what you can’t see.
> Look into threat containment and isolation tools. These can prevent malware from spreading after a partial breach.
> Adopt Zero Trust principles. This approach essentially assumes you’ve been breached already. So Zero Trust systems verify each and every request as though it had originated from an open network.