Cyber security
Over 50% of enterprises say that they feel defenceless against cyber attacks. Reuters

A recent study has found that 52% of US enterprises consider themselves defenceless against cyber attacks.

A report from Ponemon Institute and management firm Avecto, which surveyed over 500 US IT security practitioners, states that whilst stopping advanced persistent threats (APT) is a priority for those surveyed, a significant 52% say they are either not prepared at all or are minimally prepared.

Astonishingly, only 5% of respondents said that their organisations were fully prepared to deal with targeted attacks.

Defending the endpoint consumes most of IT security practitioners' time and is difficult to do, according to the report. This is due to insider threats.

The amount of users who have access to the IT system is growing, but majority of IT experts say their company's insight into user activity is minimal.

According to 55% of respondents their organisation know little to nothing about user activity which includes software downloads, access to applications and databases.

Executive vice-president of Avecto, Paul Kenyon, said: "The lack of visibility that IT security professionals have in terms of user behaviour and admin rights, combined with more sophisticated attack vectors, is making securing and managing the endpoint a growing challenge. As a result, this is opening up a huge variety of internal and external vulnerabilities."

In a similar research conducted by Ovum, which surveyed over 500 IT people at medium to large- sized organisations in the UK, over 40% feel that insecurity comes from 'privileged users' (system administrators, database administrators, network administrators), who believe that they are the biggest threat to their organisation.

"Organisations must deploy a layered approach to endpoint security or they will risk opening their systems up to vulnerability from multiple threat sources. The new age of cyber attacks requires modern defences and companies must act quickly," said Dr Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute.