Data Breaches: Is Prevention Practical?

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A SANS Survey sponsored by Palo Alto Networks

Data breaches are on the rise. The number of breach notifications issued by the New York State Attorney General’s office, for example, has risen 40% during 2016 compared with the same period a year earlier. Apparently, respondent experience with a measure shows a certain disenchantment with a measure’s ability to prevent. SANS can only speculate why because this survey was not designed to uncover specific underlying causes. However, two possible factors come to mind.

First, given today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape, prevention requires measures beyond more traditional methods, such as signature-based detection, to prevent attacks or breaches. Although more than 80% of respondents have implemented technology that blocks known malware and vulnerability exploits, slightly less than 50% consider these technical measures effective.

Second, organizations must invest more fully in what they have, in terms of both staff and technology. Available staff and the inability to secure budgets and proper skill sets lead as barriers to implementing preventive measures, with another potentially critical factor also emerging: infrastructure limitations that cannot support the automation required or (possibly) already acquired.


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