Almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of large European companies are failing to secure data by encryption, the latest figures from Tumbleweed show.

Of this group 59 per cent have no plans to do so in future. Only in the financial services sector is encryption increasingly employed with 59 per cent of corporations encrypting outbound emails.

The study, which questioned senior IT managers from across the UK, Spain, France and Germany, found that 13 per cent of respondents admitted that a breach of unauthorised confidential data had occurred at their organisation within the last year.

Users transmitting confidential data via email was a top concern for 36 per cent of those surveyed and personal use of email came a close second with 32 per cent.

The research found that 36 per cent of respondents deem negative publicity as the result of a data breach the most damaging outcome, while 26 per cent believe fines and legal action are the most harmful to business.

“Encryption is key for all internet communications but even more so in the outbound stream with employees, unwittingly or otherwise, sending sensitive information across open and vulnerable networks,” said Soeren Bech, business director EMEA for Tumbleweed.

“It is alarming that our findings show so many organisations are not taking the ‘threat from within’ seriously. It is time for businesses to take action and invest in adequate security for their communications to prevent the potential of a more costly and embarrassing data breach,” he warned.