Are Privileged Users the Biggest Security Threat?

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2016-09-14 Email

Although protecting enterprise assets typically revolves around keeping hackers and other cyber-criminals away from data and systems, there's a growing recognition that insiders also represent a significant security threat. What's more, damage caused by privileged users is often the most extensive, the most difficult to mitigate and the hardest to detect. That's because these actions involve authorized users doing things they are authorized to do. A new Ponemon Institute and Forcepoint study of 704 IT operations and security managers, "The 2016 Study on the Insecurity of Privileged Users," found that glaring deficiencies exist in the way many enterprise systems are provisioned and configured, and the ways in which these organizations monitor employees. While most companies are taking steps to mitigate and manage these risks, the problem is actually growing due to the increasing complexity of systems, the greater use of commercial software and more effective social engineering techniques. Here's a look at some of the key results of the study, and what business and IT leaders need to know to combat this growing problem.

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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