Quantifying Insecure Endpoints in 2017

By: Pam O'Neal | 7/5/2017

Absolute recently teamed up with the expert researchers at Ponemon Institute to study the state of endpoint security in 2017. While we are all painfully familiar with the significant challenges infosec pros face to secure organizations against the persistent, ever-constant barrage of attacks leveraged by cyber criminals, just how important is it? When it comes to persuading other lines of business and funding your infosec budget, can you quantify that importance?

Our new study may not provide you with the single silver bullet we all wish existed for securing an enterprise but one thing has become obvious: inefficient, ineffective endpoint security approaches will cost your organization big time.

The Cost of Insecure Endpoints
The study of 556 IT security pros in the U.S. found organizations spend an average of 1,156 hours each week detecting and containing insecure endpoints. For example, just one failed endpoint can result in nearly 615 endpoint alerts each week. Of those, 277 are considered reliable and 115 actually get investigated. On average, 61% of those alerts involve malware infections.

Multiply these numbers out by the number of endpoints (and endpoint agents) your organization is responsible for – if you even know the answer to that – and the remediation possibilities are overwhelming at best. Let’s also not forget the inevitability of false positives and unavoidable employee downtime. When you factor those soft costs in, painful numbers rise to the surface.

Our new study delivers a breakdown of the annual costs of ineffective and inefficient endpoint security:
• Detect and contain insecure endpoints: $3.4M
• Time wasted due to erroneous alerts: $1.37M
• Employee downtime and business interruption: $1.23M
• Total annual cost: $6M

Blind Spots are Large, and Getting Larger
High price tags would, of course, be easier to take, if our security approaches were more effective. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most. New data breaches are reported on every week and, according to our study, nearly half of the respondents report disappointment in their organization’s endpoint security solutions.

The research also tells us off-line or out-of-network endpoints are particularly troublesome to secure. 63% report low confidence the ability to monitor endpoint devices off the corporate network. Conversely, only 30% said they are highly effective in detecting insecure or off-line endpoints and just one-third report high effectiveness in minimizing false positives in the detection of insecure of off-line devices. Lastly, 34% say they are very effective in minimizing the damages cause by these endpoints.

The biggest challenge, as identified by 75% of respondents, is something we’ve heard before: unpatched software on these rogue endpoints creates the biggest risk. Pair that fact with rising, worldwide malware and we’ve got a perfect storm brewing.

While there may not be one single solution for fending off cyber-attacks, there are ways to improve your security posture. Respondents to this annual study believe automation increases efficiency and improves visibility over those troublesome dark endpoints. It also saves money that is otherwise wasted in time and energy responding to erroneous alerts.

Regardless, when considering numbers as significant as the ones identified in our Cost of Insecure Endpoints Benchmark Study, it’s obvious that securing endpoints and protecting proprietary data is more than an IT issue. It’s a critical business performance matter.

For more, download the complimentary report.

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