Mid-market Organisations At Greater Risk

In the last few years, many organisations have scaled up their cyber operations, with the rise of remote working forcing many to revise their cyber security provision as frequency of breaches increase.  

Unfortunately, e2e-assure’s recent research has found that the majority (59%) of mid-sized organisations report less confidence in detecting cyber threats compared to just over half of enterprises (52%). This is unsurprising, as the mid-market is increasingly becoming the perfect victim for cyber criminals as larger organisations shore up their cyber operations, becoming harder to bypass. 

For many small organisations, well configured and efficient cyber hygiene can be sufficient in increasing their cyber posture, offering a proficient level of defence. But sadly, the same cannot be said for the mid-market. The increased intricacies of tech stacks and policies can begin to mirror the cyber defence and monitoring needs of enterprises, but with a fraction of the available cyber security budget.

As a result, many mid-market organisations are sold ‘out of the box’ cyber solutions, with the focus of service innovation and customer-centricity solely on the enterprise level clients.

Consequently, the mid-market is commercially viewed as an easy win - minimal work with year-on-year contracts that offer favourable margins. 

What Are The Biggest Frustrations Among CISOs?

Our report unveiled that the biggest frustrations of the 500 CISOs and cyber security decision makers we surveyed are:

  • Long rigid contracts
  • The continual need to bolt on new services
  • The lack of threat hunting capabilities 

The cyber security industry is fast-paced and unforgiving. The relentless drum beat of cyber threats are exhausting, and most cyber professionals are longing for a trusted specialist they can lean on for their expertise.

Disappointingly, we have seen that customers are experiencing limited value from their current providers, with 59% reporting their provider is underperforming. Therefore, it is understandable that only 23% of our respondents state they will keep their provisions fully outsourced.

In fact, we predict a significant shift towards hybrid solutions, with 61% stating they will be looking to continue leveraging a hybrid solution. 

Why? Simply put, we think CISOs just want to be able to sleep better at night. By bringing some or all their cyber provision in-house they can have much better visibility and control of their cyber posture.

Potential For Change 

But there is still some hope for providers. Interestingly, despite underperformance, our research has found that there is still a strong desire to outsource. In fact, most respondents recognise the limitations of their in-house security teams and are happy to relinquish more control to providers in return for quicker decisions (68%) and faster response times (63%).

The question that mid-market organisations should therefore be asking is how can these be achieved if their current cyber security provision is failing?

The Move To Attack Disruption

In today’s current cyber threat landscape, it is no longer a question of whether an organisation will be compromised, but when it will happen. 

It is therefore a concern to find that over a quarter (26%) of mid-market CISOs and cyber security decision makers report that their provider is not implementing proactive measures such as threat hunting to best tune alerts and protect their environment. 

We have found SOC-as-a-service to be one of the most popular cyber security operations to outsource and used by almost a third of CISOs and cyber security decision markers (29%). But it is imperative that CISOs move away from traditional SOC models which use these ‘out of the box’ set ups that are not efficiently tuned to the environment they’re monitoring. 

With false positives a prevalent issue within outdated SOCs, already overburdened teams can become burnt out, and trust in tools can be diminished. 

Attack Disruption in modern SOCs utilises a contain first and investigate immediately approach. This approach focusses on containing machines that show suspect malicious activity, disrupting a potential attacker instantly. Threat intelligence and alert tuning are strong factors that influence the success of this approach, as weakness in either can lead to high false positives and continue analyst fatigue. But a well configured Attack Disruption model will drastically improve the detection and response times for any business.

Looking Forward To 2024’s Threat Landscape 

As we approach 2024, it’s evident that a critical shift is needed to ensure cyber defence quality is more consistent across all sizes of organisation. 

Those most in need of a change, mid-market organisations, can drive this shift by asking their current provider to set clearer KPIs around the time taken to detect and contain threats; offer clearer visibility of the proposed cyber security road map and draw up more flexible contracts then enable better cyber security agility.

These imperative steps will reduce the risk of mid-sized organisations being left behind as cyber-attacks continue to advance.

Tim Anderson is Chief Commercial Officer at e2e-assure

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