Securing Private Equity investments: The 7 most common vulnerabilities that cyber attackers exploit

Protecting your PortCo’s requires a deep understanding of the many vulnerabilities in their environment.  


With bad actors targeting Portfolio Companies (PortCo’s), ensuring the long-term value of your portfolio requires  an in-depth look at your PortCo’s cyber posture.  

Here are seven of the most common cyber vulnerabilities impacting PortCo’s today:  

  1. Lack of multi-factor authentication for SaaS applications

One recent report found that 83% of data breaches among surveyed organizations were due to an identity-related attack. Deploying multi-factor authentication is a must-have to prevent such cyber attacks.  

Read: Washington TechnologyOne size doesn’t fit all for multi-factor authentication 

  1. Inadequate Personal computer and mobile device management

Cyber attackers can target vulnerabilities in personal and mobile devices.  If personal devices do not meet business cybersecurity requirements, the firm may lack the correct anti-virus software, firewalls, and software updates to protect themselves against unauthorized access. 

Read: Security Magazine Report – 97% of executives access work accounts on personal devices 

  1. A lack of cyber training for employees

Untrained employees are more likely to fall for phishing scams and social engineering attacks. Without proper training, employees can also mishandle sensitive data and fail to follow proper cyber security protocols, increasing the organization’s vulnerability to cyber incidents. 

Read: Rethinking Human Error: A New Perspective in Cyber Security  

  1. Outdated software and systems

Outdated software and systems often lack the latest security patches and updates, making them vulnerable to modern exploits. Attackers can easily target these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to your systems, deploy ransomware, and disrupt your business operations.  

  1. End-of-life hardware and software

End-of-life hardware and software no longer receive security updates or support from vendors, leaving them exposed to unpatched vulnerabilities. Attackers can exploit these weaknesses to infiltrate networks and steal data, jeopardizing the security and integrity of your entire portfolio. 

Read: Vendors – The overlooked cybersecurity risk for Private Equity firms 

  1. A lack of regular data backups and test data recovery processes

A lack of regular data backups and test data recovery processes hampers your ability to restore data after incidents like ransomware attacks or hardware failures that lead to lost data. Without sufficient backups and an effective recovery process, you may face prolonged downtime, data loss, and financial loss. 

Read: Don’t Let This Happen to You: Cautionary Tales of Data Loss for World Backup Day 2024 

  1. Local admin rights

Local admin rights grant extensive control over your systems. If compromised, attackers can install malware, alter configurations, and access sensitive data. Excessive privileges increase your risk of an attack and make it easier for cybercriminals to exploit your vulnerabilities and escalate attacks. 

Recommended next steps— Contact a Drawbridge representative to ask about how you can address issues like these. We can help to benchmark each PortCo’s cyber posture against others in your portfolio, identify outliers, and get visibility into which fundamental cyber controls your PortCo’s still need to implement.  

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