More than three-quarters of organisations had experienced some form of data security incident in the last year.
According to research by Clearswift of 300 organisations, 83 per cent experienced an incident, while 58 per cent of respondents estimated that data security incidents within their organisations over the last year have come from across the extended enterprise, in comparison with 42 per cent from ‘outsiders'.
Guy Bunker, senior vice president of products at Clearswift, said that internal threats do not make the headlines quite as much as rogue hackers, but must be taken more seriously by businesses.
Heath Davies, CEO of Clearswift, commented: “This research validates how much of a priority security is for businesses; we know that it is a fast-changing environment and that organisations do struggle to keep up with the external, as well as the emerging internal, threats.
“A comprehensive security plan will cover all of these and should be backed up with a visible and tangible security policy to ensure the enemy within is not afforded the opportunity to incur any damage.”
The research also revealed the potential problems posed by consumerisation, as the top three threats were: employee use of USB or storage devices to save company data; inadvertent human error (e.g. sending an email to the wrong recipient); and employees sending work-related emails via personal email accounts or devices.
It found that seven per cent of security breaches caused by ex-employees were made possible by weak security measures around ‘bring your own device' (BYOD), especially with 31 per cent of organisations accepting or proactively managing BYOD. More than half (53 per cent) of respondents felt that users would continue to use their own devices on the network, whether it is sanctioned by IT or not.
Bunker said: “Any organisation that does not take BYOD seriously is simply setting themselves up for a fall. It must be recognised within the security policy or there will be repercussions for the business - compliance, regulation, financial costs in the form of hefty fines, as well as reputational damage of the organisation.”