Data breaches put IT jobs on the line: Survey

30 per cent of IT professionals say executive data breached
||Last Updated: 11/24/2011

Serious data breaches have compromised the data of CEOs and other executives along with confidential customer data and data necessary for regulatory compliance. And IT managers are feeling the pressure, saying data loss incidents put their jobs on the line, according to a survey of 1,000 IT managers and 1,000 non-IT employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Thirty per cent of Canadian IT professionals reported the CEO's or other executives' confidential data had been breached while 22 per cent reported losing data needed for compliance. And 40 per cent said data has been lost by employees, found the survey released by Websense, a content security and data theft protection company.

More than 80 per cent of Canadian IT professionals said their job would be at risk if a security incident were to occur, such as a breach of the confidential data of an executive (38 per cent), data needed for compliance being lost (32 per cent) or confidential information being posted on a social networking site (34 per cent).

There is a suspiciously large gap in the experience of IT managers and confessions from employees that indicates extensive under-reporting on security breaches, said Websense. Just two employees for every 100 admitted to posting confidential information on a social networking site but 23 per cent of IT managers said it has indeed occurred at their organization. One employee in 100 reveals they have introduced malware onto the network — but 32 per cent of IT managers have already seen it happen.

And if employees did accidentally compromise company data, 30 per cent of them would not tell their boss, found the survey Security Pros & 'Cons': Canadian IT professionals on Confidence, Confidential Data and Today's Cyber-cons.

Canadian IT managers said getting a divorce or getting married would be less stressful than protecting the company's confidential data. In addition, 11 per cent said their job was less stressful and 20 per cent would rather start a new job.

But data security talk now involves top management, found Websense. More than 90 per cent of IT security managers said new levels of management have engaged in data security conversations in the last year, including the head of IT (42 per cent), managing director (37 per cent) and CEO (36 per cent).

“Companies need to recalculate their assumptions about how well their data is protected," said Fiaaz Walji, Canadian country manager for Websense. "Advanced threats are using attack elements and methods that AV (anti-virus solutions were) not designed to address — and are written and tested specifically to bypass AV. Companies need a robust, layered security strategy... that can truly protect them from modern malware in the wild and effectively keep their confidential data protected, however it's being used."

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