Quick — what’s the biggest threat to your company’s sensitive data? Hint: It’s not foreign hackers.
It’s the company’s employees.
Over 41% of office workers have downloaded sensitive data from their employers. That the conclusion of a survey of 600 financial sector employees from New York and London.
Some further results:
- One-third of respondents said that they would gladly steal data if it meant giving friend or family a leg up on getting a job.
- 48% said that if they were fired tomorrow, they would take company information as they went out the door.
- 31% said that they had already taken such data from one company to another.
- 54% said they would take data “just in case” it might prove useful.
- 43% said they would snoop around the network to check out HR information, including planned layoffs and comparative salaries.
The big prize of all this pilfering is customer and contact information, followed by plans and proposals, and product information. Even worse, 13% of those surveyed said they would take or have taken access codes and passwords.
That’s in spite of the fact that 85% of employees surveyed were well aware that such data pilfering is illegal. They also pointed out that they have little fear of getting caught, as their employers have no system in place for tracking the data leaks. 57% said that it was easier to take sensitive data than it has been in the past.
Now, the cutthroat financial industry is probably a lot less restrained than most, and the potential monetary value of stolen information is surely higher in other industries. But the general trend is there. And the authors of the study believe that the recession has made stealing data all the more likely.
The point is that building an effective data security system is more important than ever. For many companies, cutbacks in IT budgets have left them more vulnerable than ever. Those are cost savings that might well lead to big losses down the pike.