Nearly three quarters of companies (73 percent) have been affected by internal information security incidents, with the largest single cause of confidential data losses are employees (42 percent).
Citing the “threat from within”, a recent Kaspersky security survey claims the average damage caused by leaks in small and medium-sized businesses amounted to $80,000.
“As a company’s IT infrastructure expands, so does the threat landscape,” Konstantin Voronkov, Head of Endpoint Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.
“New components add new vulnerabilities. The situation is aggravated by the fact that not all employees - especially those with no specialist IT knowledge - can keep pace with a rapidly changing IT environment.
“As a result, the company is exposed to not only external threats but also internal threats that come from employees.”
Voronkov says this was confirmed by Kaspersky’s recent survey of more than 5,500 IT specialists across over 25 countries, which found that 21 percent of companies affected by internal threats lost valuable data that subsequently had an effect on their business.
“It is worth mentioning that the study reported cases of accidental data leaks (28 percent) and intentional leaks of valuable company data (14 percent),” Voronkov adds.
Findings show that average financial losses incurred by small and medium businesses as a result of data leaks amounted to $80,000 0 $33,000 from accidental leaks and $47,000 from intentional leaks.
The figures for enterprises were $1.29 million, $544,000 and $748,000 respectively.
In addition to data leaks, internal threats include the loss and theft of employees’ mobile devices - 19 percent of respondents confirmed that they lost a mobile device containing corporate data at least once a year.
Another important factor is that of staff fraud, Voronkov adds, claiming 15 percent of those surveyed encountered situations when company resources, including finances, were used by employees for their own purposes.
The percentage may be low, but for Voronkov, the losses caused by these incidents exceeded the damage caused by confidential data leaks for enterprises.
Small and medium businesses lose up to $40,000 on average from fraudulent activity by employees, while the figure for enterprises exceeds $1.3 million.
“It's no secret that a security solution alone is not enough to protect a company’s data,” Voronkov adds. “And the results of this study confirm that.
“What’s required is an integrated multi-level approach powered by security intelligence and other supplementary measures.
“These measures may include the use of specialised solutions and the introduction of security policies, such as restricting access rights.”