IT Security Leaders Face Vulnerabilities When Safeguarding Digital Communications


A new survey confirms ongoing concerns around data loss and that lack of message-level visibility poses a major challenge in digital risk protection.

With the proliferation of remote work environments, IT security professionals need to protect against threats from multiple angles. To safeguard digital communications, security leaders are turning to digital risk protection (DRP): operational processes that combine intelligence, detection, and response across public —  web, corporate social media —  and non-public — enterprise collaboration tools, employees’ social/mobile accounts — attack surfaces.

SafeGuard Cyber, the SaaS platform dedicated to managing the full lifecycle of digital risk protection released findings from a survey of 100 IT security leaders about their digital risk processes and safeguarding digital communications. The survey findings indicate that cybersecurity leaders understand what is needed for successful digital risk protection, but they are still dealing with limitations and vulnerabilities in protecting these communications, including engagement on third-party cloud applications.

Conducted in coordination with the research community Pulse in June 2021, the survey sought to uncover how cybersecurity leaders are managing digital risks on third-party applications, who owns the responsibility for securing them, and what can be done to improve their organization’s security posture for cloud applications. Survey participants included 100 senior enterprise IT and security professionals at companies with over 5,000 employees.

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Key findings include:

  • Lack of visibility (39 per cent) is the biggest challenge for security leaders who aim to maintain security and compliance across all business communications.
  • When it comes to digital communication risks, security leaders are most concerned about data loss (46 per cent), followed by malware and ransomware attacks (37 per cent).
  • Only 10 per cent of cybersecurity leaders have a tech stack that provides full visibility for detecting and responding to threats in cloud applications outside of their network.
  • Security leaders often restrict access as a means of managing risk where they lack granular visibility. To ensure security and compliance on social media, collaboration, and mobile chat applications, most security leaders (77 per cent) turn to tools that restrict access to third-party communication apps.

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When asked how they rate their organisation’s digital risk mitigation capabilities, more than three-quarters of cybersecurity leaders (78 per cent) reported they have limitations and vulnerabilities that prevent them from protecting all communication channels and digital assets. Currently, their greatest challenge is the lack of message-level visibility on third-party cloud applications, which is at the heart of the recent Electronic Arts Slack hacking.

“Collaboration applications have become essential for business teams to communicate, but present a great deal of risk, as we are learning from the fallout of this EA Games attack,” said Jim Zuffoletti, CEO and co-founder SafeGuard Cyber. “Our latest findings confirm that digital risk protection needs to be driven from a central command hub where an enterpriseʼs entire digital footprint can be seen and proactively managed.”