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The cost of downtime continues to increase as do the business risks. An 81% majority of organizations now require a minimum of 99.99% availability. This is the equivalent of 52 minutes of unplanned outages related to downtime for mission critical systems and applications or ,just 4.33 minutes of unplanned monthly outage for servers, applications and networks.                                         

 Over 98% of large enterprises with more than 1,000 employees say that on average, a single hour of downtime per year costs their company over $100,000, while an 81% of organizations report that the cost exceeds $300,000. Even more significantly: three in 10 enterprises – 33% – indicate that hourly downtime costs their firms $1 million or more (See Exhibit 1). It’s important to note that these statistics represent the “average” hourly cost of downtime.  In a worst case scenario – if any device or application becomes unavailable for any reason the monetary losses to the organization can reach millions per minute. Devices, applications and networks can become unavailable for myriad reasons. These include: natural and man-made catastrophes; faulty hardware; bugs in the application; security flaws or hacks and human error. Business-related issues, such as a Regulatory Compliance related inspection or litigation, can also force the organization to shutter its operations. For whatever the reason, when the network and its systems are unavailable, productivity grinds to a halt and business ceases.   

Highly regulated vertical industries like Banking and Finance, Food, Government, Healthcare, Hospitality, Hotels, Manufacturing, Media and Communications, Retail, Transportation and Utilities must also factor in the potential losses related to litigation as well as civil penalties stemming from organizations’ failure to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or Compliance Regulations. Moreover, for a select three percent of organizations, whose businesses are based on high level data transactions, like banks and stock exchanges, online retail sales or even utility firms, losses may be calculated in millions of dollars per minute.

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ITIC’s coverage areas continue to expand and evolve based on your feedback. We will now feature Q&As with industry luminaries and experts discussing hot industry trends and technologies.

Longtime security professional, Stu Sjouwerman is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4.com a “New-school” IT security firm based in Tampa, Florida. It specializes in on-demand Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT). The company’s goal is to enable organizations to quickly solve the increasingly urgent security problem of social engineering and avoid attacks before they occur. Sjouwerman also publishes an Electronic newsletter called Cyberheist News.

Prior to founding KnowBe4.com, Sjouwerman was president, CEO and founder of Sunbelt Software – now ThreatTrack Software which makes the VIPRE security package, originally developed by Sjouwerman and his team at Sunbelt Software. For 17 years he was also the editor of the popular WServerNews electronic newsletter which had a worldwide distribution of 400,000.  ITIC recently sat down and interviewed Sjouwerman about security threats, how companies can defend themselves and avoid common mistakes.

ITIC: Tell us about KnowBe4:

Stu Sjouwerman: We are the “new school” or next generation security awareness training. Old style security tactics and training don’t cut it anymore. In the Digital Age of sophisticated and dangerous Ransomware and increasingly dangerous and prolific Cyber attacks, it’s not enough to follow dos and don’ts. KnowBe4 offers training and advice to assist businesses in combating the latest threats. For example, we will perform fully automated simulated phishing attacks. This lets corporations identify who the culprits are in advance of an attack. It’s proactive and preventive. We train people to be well aware of all of the latest threats from Ransomware to Internet of Things (IoT)-based Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to phishing attacks that are out there. Our main focus is on phishing attacks but it’s not our only focus.

ITIC: Ransomware attacks are happening with alarming frequency and the Wanna Cry attack on Friday, May 12th was the worst yet. To date it’s infected corporations in 150 countries and over 200,000 machines worldwide. Surprisingly, Security firms have stepped in with fixes and sound advice, but the threat of Wanna Cry and other Ransomware attacks still persists. What’s KnowBe4’s position?

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“We have met the enemy and it is us.”

This quote aptly describes the current state of security and cyber security.

End users now arguably pose a bigger immediate and ongoing threat to the cyber security of consumer and corporate devices, applications and networks.

Those are the findings of ITIC’s latest 2017 Security Survey which found that 80% of 650 corporate respondents said that end user carelessness and failure to implement and install security on their BYOD and mobile devices are more dangerous than targeted hacks and rogue code.

That said, the organizations which ranged from SMBs with 25 users to large enterprises with over 10,000 employees, are painfully aware of the threat posed by Ransomware, Bots, Phishing scams, Trojans, Viruses, other types of malware and even targeted corporate espionage, are all capable and culpable of wreaking havoc.

Cyber security and protecting corporate and consumer assets and will always be, a 50-50 proposition. End users and IT administrators, own 50% of the responsibility to secure their devices and adhere to safe computing practices. For starters, this means getting security training and actually installing and utilizing security mechanisms. Too often, corporate employees and consumers disable security safeguards because of usability issues. Similarly, security vendors bear 50% of the responsibility to incorporate strong security mechanisms into their products. The onus is also on vendors to provide businesses and consumers with regular updates. Transparency is also a must for the entire vendor community; they must respond quickly, acknowledge security flaws when they occur and quickly move to deliver guidance and release fixes when bugs or glitches are discovered.

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ITIC’s coverage areas continue to expand and evolve based on your feedback. We will now feature Q&As with industry luminaries and experts discussing hot industry trends and technologies.

Cisco is one of the preeminent high technology companies and a market leader in networking for the last three decades. Cisco’s technologies and market strategies continue to evolve along with those of the overarching high tech industry and its expanding customer base. Cisco is expanding its presence beyond networking and becoming a driving force in The Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Analytics. Michael Flannagan is Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Data & Analytics Group. He is responsible for the company’s data and analytics strategy, and leads multiple software business units. This includes: Cisco’s Data Virtualization Business Unit; Cisco’s Analytics Business Unit and Cisco’s ServiceGrid Business Unit and Cisco’s Energy Management Business Unit. ITIC Principal Analyst spoke to Flannagan in-depth about Cisco’s recent analytics acquisitions and the increasingly prominent role analytics will play in Cisco’s products and strategy.

Laura DiDio, Cisco is upping its game with IoT Edge Analytics/Data Analytics, the acquisition of ParStream and its recent partnership with IBM to incorporate Watson’s cognitive computing and AI capabilities onto Cisco edge routers. Can you provide us with insight into the tangible positive impact that IoT Analytics is having both in the data center and at the Edge in terms of business and technical advantages – e.g. performance gains, positive impact on manpower and device resources, cost savings, driving top line revenue, lowering TCO, accelerating ROI and also helping to increase reliability and mitigate risk?

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The only good downtime is no downtime.

ITIC’s latest survey data finds that 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000; 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000. And a record one-third or 33% of enterprises report that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1 million to over $5 million.

For the fourth straight year, ITIC’s independent survey data indicates that the cost of hourly downtime has increased. The average cost of a single hour of unplanned downtime has risen by 25% to 30% rising since 2008 when ITIC first began tracking these figures.

In ITIC’s 2013 – 2014 survey, just three years ago, 95% of respondents indicated that a single hour of downtime cost their company $100,000.  However, just over 50% said the cost exceeded $300,000 and only one in 10 enterprises reported hourly downtime costs their firms $1million or more. In ITIC’s latest poll three-in-10 businesses or 33% of survey respondents said that hourly downtime costs top $1 million or even $5 million.

Keep in mind that these are “average” hourly downtime costs. In certain use case scenarios — such as the financial services industry or stock transactions the downtime costs can conceivably exceed millions per minute. Additionally, an outage that occur in peak usage hours may also cost the business more than the average figures cited here.

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