Despite the call for caution, and a year after the Biden Administration issued a cybersecurity executive order that centers around the importance of adopting a zero trust approach to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity, only 21% of critical infrastructure organizations studied adopt a zero trust security model, according to the report. Add to that, 17% of breaches at critical infrastructure organizations were caused due to a business partner being initially compromised, highlighting the security risks that over-trusting environments pose.
Businesses that Pay the Ransom Aren’t Getting a “Bargain” According to the 2022 IBM report, businesses that paid threat actors’ ransom demands saw $610,000 less in average breach costs compared to those that chose not to pay – not including the ransom amount paid. However, when accounting for the average ransom payment, which according to Sophos reached $812,000 in 2021, businesses that opt to pay the ransom could net higher total costs – all while inadvertently funding future ransomware attacks with capital that could be allocated to remediation and recovery efforts and looking at potential federal offenses.
The persistence of ransomware, despite significant global efforts to impede it, is fueled by the industrialization of cybercrime. IBM Security X-Force discovered the duration of studied enterprise ransomware attacks shows a drop of 94% over the past three years – from over two months to just under four days. These exponentially shorter attack lifecycles can prompt higher impact attacks, as cybersecurity incident responders are left with very short windows of opportunity to detect and contain attacks. With “time to ransom” dropping to a matter of hours, it’s essential that businesses prioritize rigorous testing of incident response (IR) playbooks ahead of time. But the report states that as many as 37% of organizations studied that have incident response plans don’t test them regularly.
Hybrid Cloud Advantage The report also showcased hybrid cloud environments as the most prevalent (45%) infrastructure amongst organizations studied. Averaging $3.8 million in breach costs, businesses that adopted a hybrid cloud model observed lower breach costs compared to businesses with a solely public or private cloud model, which experienced $5.02 million and $4.24 million on average respectively. In fact, hybrid cloud adopters studied were able to identify and contain data breaches 15 days faster on average than the global average of 277 days for participants.
The report highlights that 45% of studied breaches occurred in the cloud, emphasizing the importance of cloud security. However, a significant 43% of reporting organizations stated they are just in the early stages or have not started implementing security practices to protect their cloud environments, observing higher breach costs2. Businesses studied that did not implement security practices across their cloud environments required an average 108 more days to identify and contain a data breach than those consistently applying security practices across all their domains.
Additional findings in the 2022 IBM report include:
Phishing Becomes Costliest Breach Cause – While compromised credentials continued to reign as the most common cause of a breach (19%), phishing was the second (16%) and the costliest cause, leading to $4.91 million in average breach costs for responding organizations.
Healthcare Breach Costs Hit Double Digits for First Time Ever– For the 12th year in a row, healthcare participants saw the costliest breaches amongst industries with average breach costs in healthcare increasing by nearly $1 million to reach a record high of $10.1 million.
Insufficient Security Staffing – Sixty-two percent of studied organizations stated they are not sufficiently staffed to meet their security needs, averaging $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.
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1Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, conducted by Ponemon Institute, sponsored, and analyzed by IBM 2 Average cost of $4.53M, compared to average cost $3.87 million at participating organizations with mature-stage cloud security practices