The independent Cyberark survey interviewed 1,450 business and IT decision makers, primarily from Western European economies. Respondents indicated that even the slightest downtime affecting business critical applications would be massively disruptive, with 61 percent agreeing that the impact would be severe.
Breaches affecting applications that are the lifeblood of business can result in punitive costs, with a 2018 report estimating the average cost of an attack on an ERP system at $5.5 million USD. The threat actors that enterprises face are formidable. Organized crime was behind 50 percent of all breaches in 2018. The attackers used established tactics like privileges abuse to achieve their aims.
56 percent of organizations have experienced data loss or service disruptions affecting business critical applications in the previous two years. However, the survey found 72 percent of respondents are confident that their organization can stop data security attacks or breaches.
Cyberark highlights disconnect
This brings to light a remarkable disconnect between where security strategy is focused and the business value of what is most important to the organization. An attacker targeting administrative privileges for these applications could cause significant disruption and could even halt business operations.
The survey also found that 74 percent of organizations indicated they have moved business critical applications to the cloud; or will do so in the next two years. A risk-prioritized approach to protecting these assets is necessary for companies to manage this transition successfully. Further industry data shows that, globally, 69 percent of organizations are migrating data for popular ERP applications to the cloud.
“From banking systems and R&D to customer service and supply chain, all businesses in all verticals run on critical applications. Accessing and disrupting these applications is a primary target for attackers. This is due to their day-to-day operational importance and the wealth of information that resides in them; whether they are on-premises or in the cloud,” said David Higgins, CyberArk. “CISOs must take a prioritized, risk-based approach that applies the most rigorous protection to these applications, securing in particular privileged access to them and assuring that, regardless of what attacks penetrate the perimeter, they continue to run uncompromised.”