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Got a data security policy? Chances are your IT bods don't know it

Most data-blurt blunders are internal cockups, not hacks

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Advisory firm Forrester Research questioned 2,383 IT workers from five countries for a report called Understand The State Of Data Security And Privacy: 2012 To 2013, but only 56 per cent of those surveyed in North America and Europe said that they were aware of their employers' current data security policies, according to a media reports.

"It's not simply just a matter of having the appropriate tools and controls in place," the Forrester paper said, according to a report by PC World. "It's worth noting that only 56 percent of information workers in North America and Europe say that they are aware of their organisation's current security policies."

"Consider employee awareness to be another layer of security, and realize that educating employees is also internal PR outreach for the security group," Forrester Research analyst Heidi Shey wrote in the paper, according to a report by Security Week.

The Forrester report also outlined that the majority of data breaches the survey respondents experienced in the last 12 months were caused by company employees. Only 25 per cent of the data breaches stemmed from actions by external attackers, according to a report by PC World.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) of data breaches were caused by loss or theft of information, whereas 27% of incidences experienced resulted from the inadvertent misuse of data by employees. On 12 per cent of occasional data breaches were caused by acts by malicious insiders, according to PC World.

"Given all the media attention on data and privacy breaches, hacking, and advanced persistent threats today, it’s easy to assume that all the major threats to your organisation come from external actors," Shey said in the Forrester report, according to Security Week. "Not completely true."

"Insiders and business partners also have access to data and information that they compromise. Whether their actions are intentional or unintentional, insiders cause their fair share of breaches. Other common sources of breach include loss or theft of corporate assets, such as laptops or USB drives, and external attacks that target corporate servers or users," she said.

Personal data breaches accounted for 22 per cent of the cases reported in the Forrester survey, with breaches relating to intellectual property and user's login details occurring on 19 per cent and 11 per cent of occasions respectively, according to the PC World report.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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