Breach, Data Security

IT decision makers are more optimistic about breach detection than they should be

A new McAfee study released Monday said organizations are overwhelmed by Big Data, yet appear to be overvaluing their ability to detect data breaches.

The study (PDF), which in January polled 500 senior IT decision makers in the United States, U.K., Germany and Australia, found that 35 percent of respondents said they are able to detect data loss incidents within minutes, while another 22 percent believe they can recognize such an event in a day. The rest said it would take longer, with the average time to detect 10 hours.

This runs counter to published studies that have analyzed actual breach cases. For example, Verizon's latest annual "Data Breach Investigations Report" was not able to find a single company it studied that was able to discover a breach within minutes or hours. Meanwhile, a study from security firm Trustwave found the average time between breach and detection was 210 days.

The McAfee report attributed this disconnect to IT pros being unclear about what their systems can actually do.

"The sheer volume of security-relevant data facing an organization these days can make identifying a threat like looking for a needle in a haystack," the report said. "Yet collecting more data can also play a transformational role in information security and organizations must become smarter at harnessing the right information to protect themselves from the unrelenting threats they face every day."

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