External cyberthreats loom, but organizations underprepared: 6 findings from Ponemon Institute

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Not only are cyberattacks costly, but organizations are also largely concerned about the reputational damage security incidents inflict, according to a new report from Ponemon Institute.

Ponemon Institute's "Security Beyond the Traditional Perimeter" report gathered responses from 591 respondents from 505 companies in a range of industries to assess their readiness and attitudes toward cyberattacks and cybersecurity. Internet risk detection and mitigation solution provider BrandProtect commissioned the study. Here are six key findings from the report.

1. Sixty-two percent of organizations said external threats are more difficult to detect than internal threats, and 52 percent said external threats are more difficult to contain than internal ones. External threats are those that arise outside a company's traditional security perimeter and use online channels like email, social media and apps as the vehicle for attack.

2. The surveyed organizations experienced on average more than one cyberattack a month, and they spent an average of nearly $3.5 million annually to handle the attacks.

3. However, organizations feel largely underprepared: 61 percent said they do not believe they have the tools to mitigate external threats, 58 percent said they don't have the tools to monitor external threats, and 59 percent said they do not have the tools to analyze and understand external threats.

4. More than half of respondents (51 percent) said they are most worried about reputational damage following an external attack. Forty percent said they're concerned about branded exploits, and 33 percent are concerned about compliance and regulatory incidents.

5. While 30 percent of external attacks happen via social media or the internet, just 17 percent of respondents said they have a formal process to monitor social media and the internet. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they do not monitor these attack vectors.

6. "The majority of security leaders understand that these external internet threats imperil business continuity," Larry Ponemon, president of Ponemon Research Institute, said in a statement. "The study highlights a gap in defenses against threats that have proven to be extremely effective for cyber criminals and costly for enterprises."

More articles on cybersecurity:

3 cybersecurity tips from Google's security and privacy lead 
Execs more likely to pay ransom if they've been previously hacked, survey finds 
The top 5 cybersecurity threats hospitals need to watch for 

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