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A large number of companies are leaving their confidential files at risk by over-sharing with employees, according to a new survey by the Ponemon Institute.
The report, entitled ‘Corporate Data: A Protected Asset or a Ticking Time Bomb?’ commissioned by Varonis, surveyed 2,276 employees questioned from the United States, UK, France and Germany about their access to company data. 71 percent had access to data that they should not be able to see, and over half (54 percent) said their access is ‘frequent’ or ‘very frequent’. 76 percent of end users surveyed said that their job requires them to have access to sensitive information such as customer data, employee records, financial reports and other confidential business documents.
Perhaps unsurprisingly from the first stat, 50 percent of end users and 74 percent of IT practitioners relieve that ‘insider mistakes’, ‘negligence’ or ‘malice’ are frequently the cause of company data leaks. 67 percent of IT practitioners stated that their organization had experienced data loss or theft in the past two years. Only 22 percent of employees said that their organization is able to tell them what happened to lost data, files or emails.
The Chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute, Doctor Larry Ponemon warned that data breaches are becoming more frequent, and this kind of unchecked access can cause severe issues for companies: “The sheer growth of both digital information and our dependence on it can overwhelm organizations’ attempts to protect their sensitive data.”
“This research surfaces an important factor that is often overlooked: employees commonly have too much access to data, beyond what they need to do their jobs, and when that access is not tracked or audited, an attack that gains access to employee accounts can have devastating consequences,” he added.
Author Alan Martin, ESET