UK businesses are suffering from a multitude of data security breaches.
According to a new study by the Ponemon Institute and commissioned by Lumension, negligent employees are beginning to rival computer virus infections as the biggest cause of data security incidents in UK businesses.
While 84 per cent of organisations suffered from computer viruses and malware network intrusions in the last 12 months, the 'Worldwide State of the Endpoint Survey 2010' reports that more than six out of ten now lose sensitive data as a result of negligent employees and nearly three in ten have experienced malicious theft of sensitive data by employees.
This is exasperated by the loss and theft of company desktops, laptops or other devices, reported by 55 per cent of organisations. The problems relating to security were highlighted this week with the report of a secured laptop that was stolen from St Albans council that contained the details of more than 14,000 registered postal voters.
When questioned over the main challenges to protecting data against the emergence of new security threats and data leakage, the two critical issues identified were the lack of skilled personnel (49 per cent) and the inability to integrate multiple security technologies together (42 per cent).
Alan Bentley, SVP international for Lumension, said: “Businesses need to manage multiple security technologies to prevent sensitive data from walking out the door and malware from coming in. This dual threat is proving difficult for most organisations, which are struggling with a lack of skills, budgetary constraints and the growing complexity of endpoint technologies that they need to run in order to reduce their risk at the endpoint.
“Organisations need to integrate technologies with people, process, and policies to truly reduce complexity and costs while proactively defending against the latest data and malware threats.”
Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute, said: “The State of the Endpoint provides still more evidence that companies are racing to adopt new technologies faster than they can understand their impacts on data security and develop effective use and integration policies.
“Endpoint security has always been a challenge, but the State of the Endpoint has identified the factors IT professions say are responsible for their biggest headaches. Not surprisingly, a lack of CEO support and insufficient resources are among the top culprits.”