Survey shows 48% of UK companies at risk
Following recent controversy over data security in the public sector, a new survey has revealed that commercial organisations face the same potential dangers because many of their employees do not follow corporate policies on data and computer security.
Commercial organisations should not assume that they are immune from the exposures and damage such as those suffered by the HMRC and NHS following recent data thefts:
• 48% of companies surveyed were found at risk
• 58% of companies surveyed report laptop thefts
• 80% of businesses still only using traditional asset management tools to protect laptops
The survey, published by Absolute Software, was conducted by technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne and encompassed 100 companies spanning many industries from financial services to manufacturing to retail. The companies ranged in size from 1,000 to over 3,000 employees.
“Arguably, with 80 % of businesses not taking steps to address this problem, there is still a lack of appreciation of the value of data held on laptops.
William Pound, senior director, international operations, Absolute Software
Nearly half of those polled (48 %) said data was threatened by employee negligence. Of those suffering security breaches, 43 % estimated costs to the business to be between £10,000 and £100,000, while 14 % said it had cost them over half a million pounds.
The security of data on laptop computers is most at risk, especially for the 58 % of companies that reported laptop thefts in the past 12 months. Surprisingly 80 % of businesses still only use traditional asset management tools to protect their machines, which are generally ineffective at protecting data once the asset itself is lost or stolen.
William Pound, senior director, international operations, Absolute Software, said: ‘In today’s increasingly mobile world, it’s not surprising that we hear about data losses and security breaches in the media day in and day out. While it is impossible to stop such losses, it is possible to significantly reduce the damage they cause by implementing security solutions that enable companies to take action once these events occur.
‘Arguably, with 80 % of businesses not taking steps to address this problem, there is still a lack of appreciation of the value of data held on laptops. Companies need to take a layered approach to security, to protect all valuables at all levels to lessen the potential impact on the bottom line. The many recent stories of data loss from stolen/misplaced laptops highlights the continuing potential dangers.’
Pound continued: ‘Laptops often contain secure or personal data and intellectual property. These items have their own value and should be protected as such. A stolen laptop could contain data on your staff, suppliers, potential customers and others. If this data falls into the wrong hands it can be devastating to your business.
‘It will be interesting to see how the Governments' plans to possibly criminalise repeated breaches in data security will affect this current attitude towards security.’