Most IT departments ‘clueless’ over sensitive files

Sensitive data

The majority of IT departments have little idea about how many sensitive files they have or where they are stored, research has revealed.

Two-fifths of respondents to an Imperva survey carried out at this year's RSA Conference said they were completely clueless about the volume of sensitive files in their organisation.

Furthermore, almost two-thirds of the security professionals quizzed said they weren't even aware of who had access to such files.

Nearly a third said their company had lost data due to employees abusing access rights, on purpose or by accident.

"With so many respondents unsure of how many sensitive files they have and how accessible they are, it indicates a general lack of control over sensitive data, which increases the likelihood of an insider breach," said Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer (CTO) of Imperva.

"The first step to a solid data security plan is taking inventory of your sensitive files and knowing where they are and who has access to them at all times. Only with this complete picture will you be able to guard against insider threat by detecting when sensitive data is being added or removed, or when an employee is improperly accessing files."

In more positive findings, 82 per cent of respondents said breaches such as WikiLeaks inspired them to reconsider security policies.

However, 57 per cent said they would not be investing more money into data security following the WikiLeaks saga.

Read on for our look at the insider threat and what businesses need to do to protect themselves.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.