Breach, Data Security

Employees 85% more likely to leak files today vs pre-COVID

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Employees are 85 percent more likely today to leak files than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research released Thursday by Code42.

Joe Payne, Code42’s president and CEO, said the vast majority of that 85 percent are malicious insiders and the rest are caused by employee carelessness.

“By malicious insiders we are not talking about terrible people who are criminals,” Payne said. “More often than not it’s the coder who wrote some software and takes it to the next job, or a person who takes a customer list. On the careless side, people are using DropBox for their kids’ soccer team and then they decide to use it for their sales team, but the tool is not approved by corporate IT.”

Payne said the study, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, clearly shows companies are struggling with the insider risk issue during the COVID-19 period. The new research found that 76 percent of IT security leaders say that their organizations have experienced one or more data breaches involving the loss of sensitive files since the shift to work-from-home started. Another 59 percent say insider threats will increase in the next two years primarily, caused by users having access to files they shouldn’t, employees preferring to work the way they want regardless of security protocols, and the continuation of remote work.

The Code42 study adds that despite these forces, more than half – 54 percent – still don’t have a formal insider risk response plan, and 40 percent don’t assess how effectively their technologies mitigate insider threats.

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