A global study by security vendor McAfee suggests the global recession is putting vital information at risk. The study entitled Unsecured Economies: Protecting Vital Information includes responses from more than 800 CIOs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, India, Brazil and Dubai.
The research examined where information such as intellectual property originates, where it is stored globally, how it is transferred and lost.
The companies surveyed estimated they lost a combined US$4.6 billion worth of intellectual property last year, and spent $600 million repairing damage from data breaches. Based on these numbers, McAfee projects companies worldwide lost more than $1 trillion last year.
McAfee president and CEO Dave DeWalt says the report is wake-up call because the current economic crisis is poised to create a global meltdown in vital information. “Increased pressures on firms to reduce spending and cut staffing have led to more porous defences and increased opportunity for crime. Companies need to stop looking at security as a cost centre but as a business enabler.”
The McAfee report says 39 percent of respondents find vital information more vulnerable in the current economic climate than before. The report also found developing countries are more motivated and spend more on protecting intellectual property than Western counterparts.
Brazil, China and India spent more money on security than Germany, the UK, US and Japan.
Seventy four percent of Chinese and 68 percent of Indian CIOs invested in securing intellectual property for competitive advantage.
Another report finding is that an increasing number of cash-strapped employees are using their access rights to corporate data to steal information. As the global recession continues and legitimate work disappears, desperate job seekers are stealing corporate data to make themselves more valuable in the job market.
Forty two percent of respondents said displaced employees were the biggest threat to vital information.