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Most European executives would bypass security to win business

A survey has revealed that 69% of European executives polled would take the risk of a potential security threat to achieve the biggest deal of their life

More than two-thirds of European business executives would bypass security controls to win business, a survey has revealed.

That is despite the fact that 71% of around 400 respondents said security should be as important or even more important than business flexibility, according to the survey by security firm Balabit.

The survey was aimed at examining how organisations balance IT security and business flexibility, mainly in the UK, France and Germany.

Specifically, the survey looked at whether businesses choose to be more secure by implementing additional controls that might hinder productivity or prefer to have flexible business operations, and at the effect of a promising business opportunity.

According to the survey, 69% of respondents said they would take the risk of a potential security threat in to achieve the biggest deal of their life.

“The results show that organisations have a long way to go to balance security and business” said Zoltán Györkő, CEO at Balabit.

“The results demonstrate that while security overload may be tolerated during normal business, when it comes to big deals the respondents would not hesitate to bypass security to win business. It is important that this is recognised as an issue and dealt with accordingly,” he said.

According to Györkő, providing a practical and healthy balance of IT security and business flexibility requires IT security systems that do not impose onerous processes on users.

“When processes are bypassed by an insider, or indeed by someone who has gained fraudulent insider access, there is an escalated risk of privileged account misuse,” he said.  

Trust and verify

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute Research published in May 2015, hackers and criminal insiders cause the most data breaches.

“Because insider misuse cannot be spotted by existing control-based security tools, a different approach is required,” said Györkő.

“The survey shows that security strategies must take into account human behaviour and security teams must have visibility of the context of user actions to be able to respond effectively,” he said.

Balabit believes a monitoring-based approach that enables companies to respond to suspicious activities in real time can make IT security more business friendly.

Based on this conviction, the security firm has developed and combined several tools that focus on the context of user activities in what Balabit is calling its Contextual Security Intelligence Suite.

Instead of hand-cuffing privileged users through default-deny and continuous authentication rules, the CSI Suite operates on the principle of trust, but verify.

It continuously monitors privileged user activity and gathers data in real time from across the enterprise on the circumstances surrounding that activity.

Machine-learning and advanced algorithms are used to maintain a profile of normal user behaviour, and to identify anomalies that are potential security threats.

According to Balabit, behavioural analytics enables previously unknown threats to be prioritised and investigated with deep visibility into the circumstances surrounding the threat.

“Controls based on rules and pre-defined patterns alone cannot prevent today’s intelligent attackers. Instead, we must equip businesses with the ability to quickly discover, investigate and respond to these threats,” said Györkő.

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