20 Jan Information Security Risk in American Business
Originally posted by http://www.strozfriedberg.com
Employees Believe Company and Information is at Risk
American businesses need to fortify their protections against information security threats. In a recent flash survey of American office workers, Stroz Friedberg explored the state of information security in U.S. businesses. The reality is rather bleak.
More than half of respondents gave corporate America’s response to cyber threats a grade C or lower. Nearly three-quarters of respondents expressed concerned that a hacker could break into their employers’ computer networks and steal their personal information.
Worst Offenders in High Risk Electronic Behavior are Senior Managers
But many respondents also admitted to engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as uploading work files to their personal email and cloud accounts, and accidentally sending sensitive information to the wrong person. Senior management—those who often have high levels of access to valuable company information—admitted to partaking in risky behaviors most readily. Personal technology preferences contributed to many of the transgressions.
One bright spot is the efficacy of company policy. Workers who said they did not participate in high- risk behaviors cited strict company policy as the reason why.
When company information gets into the wrong hands—whether it’s due to a careless insider, a malicious insider, or a hacker—a business can lose the trust of its customers, partners, and investors, as well as its competitive advantages. Knowledge about real-life risks in the workplace and how companies are successfully managing high-risk behaviors can help business leaders better understand how to protect their firms.
Senior Managers are the worst information security offenders
- 87% of Senior Managers regularly upload work files to a personal email or cloud account
- 58% have accidentally sent the wrong person sensitive information (vs. only 25% of workers overall)
- 51% have taken files with them after leaving a job – twice as many as office workers in general
Senior management generally has more access to valuable information than lower-ranking employees. All three behaviors increase the risk of proprietary information getting into the the wrong hands.
Personal tech preferences are increasing information security risks
- Nearly 3/4 of office workers upload work files to a personal email or cloud account. Of those…
- 37% (the majority) say it’s because they prefer using their personal computer
- 14% say it’s because it’s too much work to bring their work laptops home
Office Workers Don’t Know the Risks
- 11% of workers who don’t send work files through personal accounts are aware of company policies against doing so
- Only 37% received mobile device security training
- 42% received information sharing training
With the proliferation of bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) in the workplace and the use of personal technologies for work, employees need more training and policies to keep information secure.
Employees are worried about the security of their personal information
- 73% of all office workers are concerned a hacker could steal their personal information such as their Social Security number, birthday, or home address
- Just 6% said they weren’t concerned at all
- 61% think that companies deserve a C grade or less for cyber security
Employees in general don’t feel that their own sensitive information is safe in their company’s network – which isn’t surprising considering the overall lack of confidence in corporate America’s ability to protect against cyber threats.
Senior Leadership Rate Themselves Poorly in Cyber Security
- 45% say that they themselves are responsible for protecting companies against cyber attack
- Yet, 52% of senior leadership give corporate America’s response to cyber threats a grade C or lower.
Fortunately for them, others think cyber security responsibilities fall elsewhere
- 54% of lower-ranking employees say that it’s IT’s problem.
The reality is, the responsibility for information security falls on everyone across an organization, but companies that do it most eﬀectively have security ingrained in their culture,starting from the top.
This Stroz Friedberg report was conducted by KRC Research. Between the dates of October 28, 2013, and November 4, 2013, KRC Research administered an online survey to 764 information workers in the United States who use a computer for their jobs and work for companies with more than 20 employees. The proportion of respondents who work for small, medium, and large businesses match those of the U.S. Census Bureau in order to produce a realistic picture of American business.
“Senior Managers” refer to titles above Vice President; “Managers” refer to Directors and Vice Presidents; “others” incorporates all other workers fitting the methodology profile.
All results are represented by percentages. Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.