A significant majority of workers in the UK may not fully appreciate how valuable the data they have access to is, and underestimate the impact it would have on their company were this information to be lost.
This is according to new research from cyber security provider Clearswift, which revealed only 39 per cent of British employees recognise that intellectual property loss (IP) could damage their business.
The firm noted this is particularly worrying as a surprisingly large number of people have access to such information.
Some 44 per cent of respondents say they have access to such sensitive IP, with 35 per cent also saying they have access to information that is deemed to be above their pay grade.
“The value of a company’s IP is frequently misunderstood,” said chief executive at Clearswift Heath Davies said. “IP is often a company’s most prized possession. If it were to fall into a competitor’s hands, or even unauthorised hands, it could cause immense financial damage to a company, or as in the case of the recent attempted US naval espionage charge, potentially result in dire effects.”
He added it is “incredible” that so many survey respondents admit to having access to such information, without realising its true value.
UK workers also widely underestimated the potential of different data firms to cause damage. For instance, only 53 per cent of respondents believed that a breach of financial data would cause considerable damage to their company, while 50 per cent thought the same of customer data and 45 per cent recognised the risks posed by the leak of employee information.
However, many businesses do not appreciate the risks their employees pose. A parallel study found that while 73 per cent of security professionals believe their business will experience a serious information breach in the next 24 months as a result of employee behavior, 72 per cent believe internal security threats are not treated with the same importance as external threats by the board.
Mr Davies added: “Most employees are not acting maliciously but their carelessness can be just as damaging. Companies need to wake up to the fact employees have the potential to cause the company huge damage through their actions, and ensure that training, policies and technology are in place to minimise that risk.”
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