CXOs increasingly suspicious of employees when it comes to data breaches

When a data breach occurs – and unfortunately today it is a question of when rather than if – then looking for the responsible party and safeguarding against future events is a matter of course. Yet according to new data from security provider Egress, the C-suite differs from their employees in terms of who is to blame.

The study, which polled more than 250 CXO executives and 2000 employees across the UK and US, found four in five leaders (79%) believed employees had put company data at risk accidentally over the past 12 months. Three in five (61%) thought their workers had done so maliciously.

From the employee perspective, many admitted they had been naughty in terms of data disclosure – but not as many as the C-suite thinks. Just under a quarter (23%) of employees polled said they had intentionally shared company data and taken it with them to a new job. 29% added they believed they had ownership of any data they worked on. Overall however, the vast majority of employees sad they hadn’t accidentally broken company data sharing policy (92%) nor done so intentionally (91%).

CXOs therefore appear to be more suspicious of their employees than they should be. Three in five (60%) of those polled said they believed data breaches were most likely to be caused by employees rushing through their work. More than a quarter said data was being leaked intentionally to harm the organisation (30%) with employees doing it for financial gain (28%). Employees admitted to a variety of faults, the most frequent being accidentally sending data to the wrong person – cited by 45% of respondents – as well as falling victim to phishing (27%).

“The results of the survey emphasise a growing disconnect between IT leaders and staff on data security, which ultimately puts everyone at risk,” said Tony Pepper, CEO and co-founder at Egress. “While IT leaders seem to expect employees to put data at risk, they’re not providing the tools and training required to stop the data breach from happening.

“Technology needs to be part of the solution,” Pepper added. “By implementing security solutions that are easy to use and work within the daily flow of how data is shared, combined with advanced AI that prevents data from being leaked, IT leaders can move from minimising data breaches to stopping them from happening in the first place.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

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