What is of course interesting from the statistics is that 27% of men, compared to 16% of women, admitted to having stolen confidential information, and 25% of Scots admitted to doing it as opposed to only 18% in the Midlands. Which just goes to prove – Scotsmen are the most honest group in the UK! It’s not the stats – It’s how you interpret them.
But this is not simply a cause for some hilarity, but rather is an indicator of a much more serious problem facing every organisation in the UK. There is a legal requirement to protect sensitive data, apart from the fact that the very survival of your business and reputation can rest on the protection of highly sensitive information. And to continue the alarmist message, recent studies by CERT have found that 90% of those that access this information, and who are likely to abuse it are IT professionals. Of course this doesn’t prove that IT professionals are more dishonest – it’s just that maybe they have a genetic predisposition to give in to temptation.
Today organisations, whether in the public or private sector have a duty to safely store, process and exchange sensitive data inside and outside of their organisation in a way that is, preferably, transparent to the user.
There are essentially three broad areas that organisations should aim to address to counter the problem.
1. Basic human errors and negligence
2. Attacks by inquisitive but easily discouraged third parties with possible criminal intent targeting your organization’s data whether it is being processed, transported or stored and
3. Attacks by focused, determined and resourceful employees, and ex-employees, system managers, and third parties with criminal intent specifically targeting secret data when processed, transported or stored.
The third category is the one that by far represents statistically the greatest risk and presents the biggest challenge since it is relatively easy to take steps to combat the first two cases. In the third case, statistically it has been proven that the most damage has been done by those who had the means to access data that did not pertain to them, and who accessed it using system resources that your normal user would normally possess.
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