While the world is distracted with the continuing reports of phone hacking practices and other corporate data breaches, it is revealed that hundreds of organizations are now vulnerable to internal threats.
According to a survey by Lieberman Software, 42 percent of IT staff can get unauthorized access to their organization’s most sensitive information – including the CEO’s private documents.
The failing is blamed on management’s naivety when it comes to understanding just how much privileged access their IT departments actually have.
39 percent of the technology professionals interviewed in this study confirmed that that their senior management does not have the faintest idea what IT can and cannot access. And, 78 percent admitted they could walk out the office tomorrow taking highly sensitive information with them.
However, perhaps the most alarming revelation is that a third of respondents say they’d still be able to access sensitive information long after leaving the company – as the result of lapses in the organization’s security practices.
Commenting on this research Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software, said “Companies should wake up to the fact that IT holds the keys to the kingdom. Nothing is secret or private unless you establish systems and procedures to lock down data from prying eyes and, according to our study, most organizations don’t. In the good old days the most sensitive data was locked away in a filing cabinet with just one or two trusted key holders. Today, it’s locked away in a virtual filing cabinet, but the problem is most companies have no idea just how many people have keys to this cabinet. What’s clear from this survey is that management just doesn’t understand the privileges their IT staff have to the most sensitive data. Even the bosses’ documents can be read by 42 percent of IT personnel and, if these guys can’t be trusted – which in some cases they can’t – the directors shouldn’t be surprised when their data gets leaked or exploited.”
The smaller the company, the higher the percentage of people who were insecure about the stability of their employment.
31 percent of IT professionals working in companies with less than 1,000 employees replied affirmatively to being worried about the stability of their employment, versus 20 percent of respondents at companies with more than 1,000 employees.
When comparing the two countries, more IT professionals in the UK say they could take sensitive information away with them to their next job with 85 percent admitting it would be easy compared with 76 percent of their US counterparts.