Although 68 percent of companies said they are prepared for a breach, 75 percent estimated it would take hours, days, or weeks for them to notice that one had occurred, according to a new survey released this morning.
Osterman Research conducted interviews with 225 mid-sized and large organizations on behalf of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security vendor Proofpoint, Inc. to assess attitudes and processes around data breaches and data loss prevention.
Only 6 percent of respondents said they were "very well prepared" to deal with data breaches, 27 percent said they were "well prepared," and 35 percent said they were "prepared." Another 18 percent said they were "somewhat prepared" and the remaining 14 percent were either not well prepared, poorly prepared, or not prepared at all.
However, only 4 percent of respondents said they could detect a potential breach within seconds, and 20 percent said it would take them several minutes.
For 37 percent of respondents, detection would take hours. For 21 percent, it would take days. The remaining 17 percent said that detection could take weeks or longer, or they did not know how long it would take.
"That's not even remediation, or stopping the exfiltration," said Kevin Epstein, Proofpoint's vice president, advanced security and governance. "That's just realizing that the remediation is happening. And given how fast data can be moved these days, that's the crown jewels leaving the company. There's a hole in the bucket and data is flowing out of it."
And companies were probably being overly optimistic in their estimates of how long it would take them to detect a breach, given the recent experience of high-profile victims.
Part of the reason is that many company still use manual methods to detect data breaches, said Epstein.
Although 80 percent of survey respondents rated their use of technology as 4 or higher on a 1 to 7 scale from "no technology used" to "we use technology extensively," 68 percent also rated their use of manual methods at 4 or higher.
Then, once a threat has been detected, many companies are still relying heavily on manual mitigation, he added.
While 76 percent of companies rated their use of technology as 4 or above when it comes to responding to data breaches, 71 percent rated their use of manual methods as 4 or higher.
"Organizations are still relying significantly on analysts sitting there looking through alerts," said Epstein. "And, based on the headlines, that's not working."
And he's not surprised, he added.
"If you're an analyst getting 30,000 alerts a day from your system, its hard to keep up with the crucial information," he said. "Attackers are succeeding because there are too few firemen and a lot of fire alarms going off."
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