Businesses are increasingly facing the risk of data loss not through the actions of malicious hackers or cyber criminals, but from a growing trend of employee file sharing that has been witnessed in recent years.
A new study has been published by the Ponemon Institute outlining the need for stronger measures to manage the secure dissemination and subsequent deletion of sensitive data within businesses.
Entitled ‘Breaking Bad: The Risk of Unsecure File Sharing’, the report revealed 61 per cent of respondents admitted to either ‘often’ or ‘frequently’ sharing sensitive business files through unsecured email accounts or have failed to carry out data destruction processes in line with company guidelines for private information.
Meanwhile, the same proportion of employees also stated they have accidentally forwarded files or documents to unauthorised individuals in the past.
Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents also believe their company lacks a clearly visible policy for the transfer of data concerning employees’ use of file sharing/file sync and share applications.
Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, commented: “Data leakage and loss from negligent file sharing is now [a] significant risk.
“While most companies take steps to protect themselves from hacking and other malicious activity, this report shows that these same organisations are entirely unprepared to guard against risky and ungoverned file sharing.”
He added that business leaders cannot lay the blame with anyone else though, as direction needs to come from the top down on matters such as this to highlight the importance of tackling poor practices and assigning accountability for data loss when such instances occur.
Mr Ponemon concluded: “The goal of senior leadership should be to provide appropriate, secure solutions and enforce policies to reduce the risk created by employees’ behaving badly.”
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