Can You Trust Your IT Employees?
It's not just hackers that businesses need to be concerned about. A new survey shows hundreds of organizations now are vulnerable to internal threats from their own employees.
The survey, conducted by Lieberman Software, reveals 42 percent of IT staff members are able to get unauthorized access to their organization’s most sensitive information, which includes private documents belonging to top executives.
The survey also found that a large number of executives might have no idea how much freedom IT staff members have. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said their senior management doesn’t know what IT can and cannot access.
“Companies should wake up to the fact that IT holds the keys to the kingdom," Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software, said in a prepared release. "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."
A lack of proper security procedures led 78 percent of those surveyed to say they could walk out of their office tomorrow and take highly sensitive information with them, with more than 30 percent of respondents indicating they would still be able to access sensitive information long after being employed with the company.
Additionally, 9 percent of U.S. IT professionals admitted they’d use their security privileges to snoop around their company's network in an effort to view data such as personnel records to try to discover if their job, or a colleague’s, was at risk.
"In the good old days, the most sensitive data was locked away in a filing cabinet with just one or two trusted key holders," Lieberman said. "Today, it’s locked away in a virtual filing cabinet, but the problem is that most companies have no idea just how many people have keys to this cabinet."
The survey, which examined workplace ethics, also found there was a strong correlation between job security and the propensity to steal sensitive data. The research shows 31 percent of employees who were fearful of losing their jobs admitted they would take sensitive data with them, compared to just 18 percent of those who felt their jobs were secure.
The research was based on a survey of 500 IT professionals throughout the United States and Great Britain.