CyberArk Report: Massive Growth of Digital Identities Is Driving Rise in Cybersecurity Debt

Udi Mokady

CyberArk shows that 79% of senior security professionals state that cybersecurity has taken a back seat in the last year in favor of accelerating other digital business initiatives. The CyberArk 2022 Identity Security Threat Landscape Report identifies how the rise of human and machine identities – often running into the hundreds of thousands per organization – has driven a buildup of identity-related cybersecurity “debt”, exposing organizations to greater cybersecurity risk.  

A Growing Identities Problem 

Every major IT or digital initiative results in increasing interactions between people, applications and processes, creating large numbers of digital identities. If these digital identities go unmanaged and unsecured, they can represent significant cybersecurity risk: 

  • Sixty-eight percent of non-humans or bots have access to sensitive data and assets. 
  • The average staff member has greater than 30 digital identities.1 
  • Machine identities now outweigh human identities by a factor of 45x on average. 
  • Eighty-seven percent store secrets in multiple places across DevOps environments, while 80% say developers typically have more privileges than necessary for their roles. 

The 2022 Attack Surface 

Secular trends of digital transformation, cloud migration and attacker innovation are expanding the attack surface. The report delves into the prevalence and type of cyber threats facing security teams and areas where they see elevated risk:   

  • Credential access was the number one area of risk for respondents (at 40%), followed by defense evasion (31%), execution (31%), initial access (29%) and privilege escalation (27%).2 
  • Over 70% of the organizations surveyed have experienced ransomware attacks in the past year: two each on average. 
  • Sixty-two percent have done nothing to secure their software supply chain post the SolarWinds attack and most (64%) admit a compromise of a software supplier would mean an attack on their organization could not be stopped. 

Udi Mokady, founder, chairman and CEO, CyberArk, said, “The past few years have seen spending on digital transformation projects skyrocket to meet the demands of changed customer and workforce requirements.  The combination of an expanding attack surface, rising numbers of identities, and behind-the-curve investment in cybersecurity – what we call Cybersecurity Debt – is exposing organizations to even greater risk, which is already elevated by ransomware threats and vulnerabilities across the software supply chain. This threat environment requires a security-first approach to protecting identities, one capable of outpacing attacker innovation.” 

Rohan Vaidya, Regional Director of Sales – India, CyberArk said, “Digital transformation is undoubtedly breaking down the traditional barriers that used to prevent organisations from remaining competitive and agile within a rapidly evolving business landscape. This, however, comes with an exponential increase in cyber risks. Organisations in India should eliminate these risks by adopting an identity-focused strategy that will secure access for all identities across any application or system from anywhere via any device.”

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