SANS Institute Identifies Security Blind Spots as Organizations Tackle Advanced Threats

Bethesda, Md. – As the quantity and frequency of advanced threats continue to accelerate, a new SANS Institute survey, "Effectively Addressing Advanced Threats," found that a continued lack of visibility and the complexity of managing data across on-premises and cloud infrastructures further complicates the battle against such threats.

The survey, sponsored by IBM Security, highlights key technology challenges and limitations that organizations are self-identifying in their efforts to detect and respond to highly sophisticated cyberattacks. SANS Institute surveyed 366 security and IT professionals across various industries to gain insights into how they deal with advanced threats.

According to the findings, 48 percent of respondents said they lack visibility into data that is processed within their organizations. Access to sensitive data by insecure, unmanaged devices or individuals as well as a lack of geolocation information of the data were also identified as concerning blind spots to organizations.

When asked about the major barriers to detecting and remediating advanced threats, nearly half of the respondents emphasized an inability to understand or baseline normal user behavior, with shortage of funding and resources coming in as a close second. Conversely, account or credential hijacking and privileged user abuse topped the list of major threats and risks realized within respondents’ environments.

The survey also looked at the challenges that respondents face within their cloud infrastructures, and found that a lack of visibility remains at the core of their limitations. When it comes to major gaps in the security analytics of their cloud-based infrastructure:

  • More than half of the respondents expressed concerns about integrating data with analytics tools and combining data across cloud environments.
  • Nearly 55 percent struggle with a lack of integration between current security analytics tools and cloud infrastructure.
  • Approximately 43 percent faced a lack of threat insights targeting cloud environments.

“Clearly, visibility of data, users, devices and the cloud environment are playing a critical role in how and whether security professionals can fight advanced threats effectively,” said SANS instructor and survey author Matt Bromiley. “While many tools such as security analytics are available to the security community, implementing them is dependent on understanding the organization’s environment.”

To learn more about how advanced threats are perceived and handled, and recommendations for better approaches, register for the SANS webcast taking place September 25, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern at and be among the first to get the associated report of the survey data and SANS recommendations.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cyber security training events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cybersecurity risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. (