IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

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Majority of enterprises found to be ill-equipped to detect and respond to PKI degradation or breaches

Keyfactor and Ponemon Institute have released the 2020 edition of ‘The Impact of Unsecured Digital Identities’, a benchmark report exploring enterprises’ ability to manage increasing numbers of cryptographic keys and digital certificates securing network connections.

“Connectivity and the number of digital identities within the enterprise has grown exponentially thanks to continued cloud, mobile, DevOps and IoT adoption,” said Chris Hickman, chief security officer at Keyfactor. “The complexity of managing those identities while keeping them securely connected to the business has created a critical trust gap – in many cases the keys and certificates designed to build trust are instead causing outages and security breaches.”

Digital certificates and keys ensure authenticity across enterprise user, application and device identities. Cryptographic algorithms encrypt the data associated with those identities, providing secure communication and exploit protection. Two-thirds of respondents say their organization is adding additional layers of encryption to comply with industry regulations and IT policies; however, shorter certificate validity has doubled the management workload on short-staffed IT and security teams.

Additional key findings:

  • Connected IoT increasing risk: 60 percent say they’re adding additional layers of encryption technologies to secure IoT devices, but 46 percent admit low ability to maintain IoT device identities and cryptography over device lifetime.
  • A rise in security incidents: on average, organizations have experienced a Certificate Authority (CA) or rogue man-in-the-middle (MITM) and/or phishing attack five times in the last 24 months, with a 40 percent likelihood of a MITM or phishing attack over the next 24 months; 73 percent of respondents admitted that digital certificates have and continue to cause unplanned downtime and outages.
  • Staffing shortages: on average, 16 percent of the IT security budget is spent on PKI deployment annually, yet just 38 percent of respondents say their organization has enough IT security staff members dedicated to PKI deployment.
  • Cryptography related security incidents undermine trust: 76 percent of respondents say failure to secure keys and certificates undermines the trust their organization relies upon to operate.
  • Cryptography lacks a center / centre of excellence: Despite the rising cost of PKI and growth of cryptography-related incidents, just 60 percent of companies have the ability to drive enterprise-wide best practices.

The study was conducted by Ponemon Institute on behalf of Keyfactor and included responses from more than 600 IT and infosec executives and practitioners in the United States and Canada across 14 industries, including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and automotive.

More details.



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