Survey Finds Unauthorized Software a Key Concern for Organizations

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Waltham, Mass. — April 8
Bit9 Inc., a provider of solutions to eliminate risk caused by malicious, illegal and unauthorized software, announced the results of a survey on the ubiquity of unauthorized software in enterprise and government systems.

According to the survey of more than 250 IT managers, 77 percent of the respondents have software usage policies in place; yet, an alarming 37 percent have found unauthorized software running on more than half of their computers.

The survey targeted organizations in excess of $1 billion. It revealed that while a majority of organizations have policies prohibiting unauthorized software, the policies are not being enforced in many organizations. With software usage policies so frequently disregarded, it's no surprise only 34 percent of survey respondents report feeling confident that in 2009 their businesses will be protected from harm caused by unauthorized or malicious software.

Additional findings from the Bit9 Unauthorized Software Survey include the following:

  • Unauthorized or malicious software causes up to 25 percent of user downtime.
  • Since the majority of respondents identified themselves as representing companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, eliminating up to a quarter of total employee downtime by proactively blocking unauthorized or malicious software offers a significant opportunity for cost savings.
  • The most problematic unauthorized software is spyware (49 percent) and malicious software not caught by anti-virus (44 percent).
  • Malware that has evaded reactive security poses a major problem for enterprises and highlights the shortcomings of traditional, reactive security approaches such as signature-based AV, which only protects against known malware, leaving companies open to unknown, targeted or zero-day attacks.
  • 29 percent of respondents do not have software usage policies that prohibit employees from downloading software to their computers.

Results from the survey underscore the need for companies to adopt proactive approaches to endpoint security, such as Application Whitelisting, to prevent unauthorized software from being downloaded and running in organizations.

Application Whitelisting is a proven, proactive way to secure endpoints (laptops, PCs, servers, kiosks, etc.) against the threats posed by unauthorized software, while giving organizations control and visibility into their IT systems. Rather than scrambling to react to the latest malicious piece of software, IT administrators using application whitelisting ensure that only software applications on the corporation's list of approved software are permitted to execute.

“Unauthorized software is a serious problem for companies, introducing organization-crippling headaches such as targeted attacks, failure to comply with regulations and licensing requirements, and the expense associated with unauthorized software removal,” said Tom Murphy, chief strategist at Bit9.

“Bit9's approach to Application Whitelisting helps IT managers regain control over their systems, eliminating all of those headaches by preventing any and all unauthorized software from running.”

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