Thales released the 2023 edition of its annual report, the Thales Data Threat Report, which covers current data security threats, trends, and emerging topics. The report is based on a survey of nearly 3000 IT and security professionals from 18 different countries. According to this year’s report, there has been a rise in ransomware attacks and an increase in risks associated with sensitive data stored in the cloud.
Nearly half (47%) of IT professionals surveyed believe that security threats are increasing in volume or severity with 48% reporting an increase in ransomware attacks. More than a third (37%) have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months, including 22% reporting that their organization had been a victim of a ransomware attack.
Respondents identified their cloud assets as the biggest targets for cyber-attacks. Over a quarter (28%) said SaaS apps and cloud-based storage were the biggest targets, followed by cloud-hosted applications (26%) and cloud infrastructure management (25%). The increase in cloud exploitation and attacks is directly due to the increase in workloads moving to the cloud as 75% of respondents said 40% of data stored in the cloud is now classified as sensitive compared to 49% of respondents in 2022.
These are just a few of the key insights from the 2023 Thales Data Threat Report, conducted by 451 Research, which surveyed both private and public sector organizations. It reveals how businesses are responding and planning their data security strategies and practices in light of a changing threat landscape and the progress they are making to address threats.
Human Error and the Impact of Ransomware Cloud Breaches
Simple human error, misconfiguration or other mistakes can accidentally lead to breaches – and respondents identified this as the leading cause of cloud data breaches. For those organisations that have suffered a data breach in the past 12 months, misconfiguration or human error was the primary cause identified by 55% of respondents. This was followed by the exploitation of a known vulnerability (21%), and of a zero-day / previously unknown vulnerability (13%). The report finds that identity and access management (IAM) is the best defense, with 28% of respondents identifying it as the most effective tool to mitigate these risks.
Meanwhile, the severity of ransomware attacks appears to be declining, with 35% of 2023 respondents reporting that ransomware had a significant impact compared to 44% of respondents reporting similar levels of impact in 2022. Spend is moving in the right direction too, with 61% reporting they would shift or add a budget for ransomware tools to prevent future attacks – up from 57% in 2022 – yet organisational responses to ransomware remain inconsistent. Only 49% of enterprises reported having a formal response ransomware plan, while 67% still report data loss from ransomware attacks. Cloud Breaches
Addressing the Challenges of digital sovereignty
Digital sovereignty is becoming more top of mind for data privacy and security teams. Overall, the report found that data sovereignty remains both a short- and long-term challenge for enterprises. 83% expressed concerns over data sovereignty, and 55% agreed that data privacy and compliance in the cloud have become more difficult, likely due to the emergence of requirements around digital sovereignty.
Emerging threats from quantum computers that could attack classical encryption schemes are also a cause for concern for organisations. The report found that Harvest Now, Decrypt Later (“HNDL”) and future network decryption were the greatest security concerns from quantum computing – with 62% and 55% reporting concerns respectively. While Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) has emerged as a discipline to counter these threats, the report found that 62% of organisations have five or more key management systems, presenting a challenge for PQC and crypto agility.
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