Users continue risky Internet behavior after a security breach

A new study by the Ponemon Institute examined behavioral aspects around corporate policy compliance with regards to Internet tools and applications. The most startling discovery was that when confronted with a security or privacy breach as a direct result of using an Internet application, 45 percent of employees did nothing and continued using the product. Furthermore, 19 percent simply decreased frequency or level of use.

Conducted by one of the world’s foremost authorities on data security and privacy, the Ponemon Institute collected data from 649 employees who utilize the Internet for work, and 301 IT security practitioners who work within the same 193 U.S. based organizations. The report represents a first in studying one of the root causes for why employees do whatever they want, and so many breaches go undetected. It documents the specific policies in place within large organizations, and gauges the actual discrepancy between end users and IT within the same companies with regards to adherence to policy and baseline security.

The data becomes even more concerning when taken in the context of other findings, including:

  • In 62 percent of the cases, breach events resulted in confidential information or secrets revealed to others without permission
  • Policies prohibiting the use of specific applications exist in 78 percent of organizations, yet nearly half (48 percent) of IT respondents do not know if employees are using prohibited products
  • IT security professionals in 42 percent of the sample do not believe their security procedures are adequate to reduce any risks associated with the use of Internet applications.

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