Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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12/10/2008
04:47 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Won't Steal Corporate Data? You're In The Minority

The bad news on insider threats keeps getting worse: most respondents to a new database-security study think such attacks will accelerate in 2009 and that insiders will most likely be behind them. Yesterday I noted the huge risks from employees wanting some "insurance" in case they get laid off; today's culprits appear to be a mix of shortsighted budgeting, ignorance, and incompetence.

The bad news on insider threats keeps getting worse: most respondents to a new database-security study think such attacks will accelerate in 2009 and that insiders will most likely be behind them. Yesterday I noted the huge risks from employees wanting some "insurance" in case they get laid off; today's culprits appear to be a mix of shortsighted budgeting, ignorance, and incompetence.Yes, that's tough talk, but combined with new studies highlighted in yesterday's post about how a significant majority of employees are willing to steal corporate data out of fear of being laid off, these additional findings could well require CIOs to reset cybersecurity priorities and dollars. Just look at this answer to a question about which factors are keeping companies from improving the security of enterprise databases that those companies admit are vulnerable:

  • Don't have accurate inventory of our enterprise DB systems: 21%
  • Don't know which DBs contain secure, confidential data: 18%
  • Lack of appropriate DB security skills: 18%
  • Confusion over which group "owns" DB security: 15%
  • Lack of budget for security solutions: 40%
  • This is becoming a huge issue that CIOs will have to tackle in 2009, and these latest results from Enterprise Strategy Group underscore, once again, the grave danger posed by employees who are either looking to steal customer data or who are simply unaware of proper security policies. Look at these responses to a question about the root causes of confidential-data breaches that companies had to disclose in the past 12 months:

  • Insider physical method: 27%
  • Insider logical method: 23%
  • External logical method: 19%
  • Accidental loss of device: 14%
  • Combo of inside/outside: 11%
  • Don't know the cause: 4%
  • Human error: 3%
  • And, as if these numbers haven't caused enough heartburn and indigestion, let me heap on a few more habaneros: "Nearly 84% of respondents believe that all or most of their confidential data is protected. This perception is disconnected from reality, as the same respondents noted they failed security audits more than 33% of the time (HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, etc.)." This last bit is from a press release about the study from Application Security, which sponsored the study and said that contact information for obtaining a copy of the report is available here.

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