Over the past two years, three out of every four organisations have been hit by the loss or theft of important data.
A new report from the Ponemon Institute found that the rise in data loss and theft is due largely to compromises of insider accounts exacerbated by far wider employee and third-party access to sensitive information than is necessary and by the continued failure to monitor access and activity around email and file systems.
The survey studied more than 3,000 employees and IT practitioners from The UK, US, France and Germany. The respondents included 1,371 end users and 1,656 IT and IT security professionals from various industries.
Three quarters (76 percent) of IT practitioners say that their organisation experienced the loss or theft of company data over the past two years.
IT respondents say insider negligence is more than twice as likely to cause compromise of insider accounts than any other culprits such as external attackers, malicious employees or contractors.
Seventy eight percent of IT professionals are very concerned about ransomware, with 15 percent of organisations having experienced ransomware and barely half of those detected the attack in the first day.
Nearly all (88 percent) end-users say their jobs require them to access and use proprietary information such as customer data, contact lists, employee records, financial reports, confidential business documents, or other sensitive information assets. Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of end-users say they have access to company data they probably should not see.
Only 29 percent of IT respondents report that their organisations enforce a strict least-privilege model to ensure insiders have access to company data on a need-to-know basis. Only 25 percent monitor all employee and third-party email and file activity, while 38 percent don't monitor any activity. Thirty five percent of organisations have no searchable records of file system activity, which leaves them unable to determine which files have been encrypted by ransomware.
“Despite all the technology available and the spike in highly publicised attacks, data breaches continue to rise. The most valuable data featured in most breaches is unstructured data such as emails and documents. When emails and files are surfaced, they tend to cause scandal, forcing the breach to have a lasting effect on the company's reputation,” said Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute.