Sixty eight percent of businesses stated that the NSA breach by Edward Snowden and the number of retail/point of sale (PoS) system breaches in the past year were the most impactful in terms of changing security strategies to protect against the latest threats, according to a global survey by the CyberArk ( security company.

The majority of organizations surveyed believe that attacks reaching the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate. While the NSA breach is widely regarded as the prototypical insider-based attack, and the retail/PoS breaches are regarded similarly for outside attacks, the critical link between both attacks was the compromise and exploitation of privileged credentials.

When asked which cyber-attacks or data breaches in the past year had the biggest impact on their business’ security strategy:

° 37% of respondents cited the NSA/Edward Snowden breach.
° 31% of respondents cited the retail/PoS attacks.
° 19% of respondents cited government-sponsored espionage.

As companies move to the cloud and streamline the supply chain by providing routine network access to third-parties, cyber-attackers are increasingly targeting these partners to steal and exploit their privileged access to the target company’s network. This pathway was used in some of the most devastating breaches in the last 12 months.

The survey found that 60% of businesses now allow third-party vendors remote access to their internal networks. Of this group, 58% of organizations have no confidence that third-party vendors are securing and monitoring privileged access to their network.

Organizations continue to face sophisticated and determined attackers seeking to infiltrate networks. Many organizations face daily perimeter-oriented attacks, such as phishing, designed to give attackers a foothold to steal the privileged credentials of an employee to give them defacto insider status. The survey found:

° 52% of respondents believe that a cyber-attacker is currently on their network, or has been in the past year.
° 44% believe that attacks that reach the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate; 29% believe it is the malware implantation stage.

Survey respondents stated that the following trends were the most impactful in terms of shaping and changing security strategies:

° 30% stated Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
° 26% stated cloud computing.
° 21% stated regulatory compliance.
° 16 percent stated the Internet of Things (IoT).

When asked whether their organization had or was considering deploying security analytics, this year’s survey found that:

° 31 percent of businesses have already deployed security analytics in some form.

° 23% were planning on deploying security analytics in the next 12 months.

° 33% had no plans to leverage security analytics.