The results of Cyber-Ark[R] Software's fourth annual "Trust, Security and Passwords" global survey show that 35 percent of respondents believe their company's highly-sensitive information has been handed over to competitors. Thirty-seven percent of the IT professionals surveyed cited ex-employees as the most likely source of this abuse of trust. While perhaps not surprising that disgruntled workers top the list, it's noteworthy that 28 percent suspected "human error" as the next most likely cause, followed by falling victim to an external hack or loss of a mobile device/laptop, each at 10 percent. The most popular information shared with competitors was the customer database (26 percent) and R&D plans (13 percent).
Cyber-Ark's fourth annual "Trust, Security and Passwords" global survey is the result of interviews conducted in the Spring of 2010 with more than 400 senior IT professionals both in the US and UK, mainly from enterprise-class companies.
There was little year-over-year change in the number of respondents who suspected the loss of intellectual property to a competitor, indicating that more needs to be done to protect companies' most valued assets. Additionally, to address vulnerabilities related to human error that could expose a proprietary database or financial information, organizations must employ additional layers of control such as the ability to grant privileges to sensitive data and systems on-demand. This limits "innocent" mistakes by allowing access to information only when users need it to perform a particular task or query.
Snooping On the Rise, but Access Is Getting More Difficult
The research also confirmed that snooping continues to rise within organizations both in the UK and the US. Forty-one percent of respondents confessed to abusing administrative passwords to snoop on sensitive or confidential information--an increase from 33 percent in both 2008 and 2009. When examining the information that people were willing to circumvent the rules to access, US respondents targeted the customer database first (38 percent versus 16 percent in the UK) with HR records most alluring to UK respondents (30 percent versus 28 percent in the US).
Despite the rise, there was also the admission that organizations are trying to better curb snooping and are installing stronger controls to prevent these incidents. Based on this year's survey, 61 percent responded they could circumvent those controls--a decrease from 77 percent in 2009...