39% of IT staff can get unauthorized access to sensitive information

IT professionals are allowed to roam around corporate networks unchecked, according to a survey of more than 450 IT professionals by Lieberman Software.

It found that 39% of IT staff can get unauthorized access to their organization’s most sensitive information – including the CEO’s private documents – and one in five has already accessed data they shouldn’t.

68% of respondents believe that, as an IT professional, they have more access to sensitive information than colleagues in other departments such as HR, finance and the executive team – leaving companies wide open to data breaches from the inside.

The study found that, if they thought their job was at risk, 11% of respondents would abuse their administrative rights to snoop around the network to seek out the redundancy list and other sensitive information. In fact, if laid off tomorrow, 11% would be in a position to take sensitive information with them. Worryingly, nearly a third confirmed that their management does not know how to stop them.

Commenting on this research, Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software, said, “Many organizations rely on their IT departments to keep them safe but all too often the reality is that powerful privileged account credentials are being abused. Management must step up to the plate and take charge by establishing systems and procedures to lock down data from prying eyes or their secrets will continue to be stolen from under their noses.”

Organizations can control privileged account access, and diminish the insider threat, with a four-part process:

  • Identify and document critical IT assets, their privileged accounts and their interdependencies.
  • Delegate access to privileged credentials so that only appropriate personnel, using the least privilege required, can login to IT assets.
  • Enforce rules for password complexity, diversity and change frequency, and synchronize changes across all dependencies.
  • Audit and alert so that the requester, purpose, and duration of each privileged access request is documented.

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