£100 - the price of confidential business information

Clearswift has revealed employees do not understand the risks associated with losing company IP or other confidential information they consider to be above their pay grade.

The survey questioned 4,000 employees around the UK, US, Gemany and Australia about the data they have access to and how they value it. It discovered 44 per cent have access to sensitive IP and 35 per cent said they have access to company data that only their managers should be able to view.

The survey also revealed that employees wouldn't hold back if they had the opportunity to sell the information. Three per cent said they would sell information for as little as 100, while 18 per cent would expect 1,000 and 29 per cent said 10,000 was the right price for the data.

Clearswift explained employees are often unclear on what constitutes company IP and what is and is not confidential, causing confusion and leaving busineses open to hacks.

"The value of a company's IP is frequently misunderstood," Heath Davies, CEO at Clearswift. "First off, IP comes in many guises and it's essential for organisations to recognise what' their IP is; where it exists and who has access to it. IP is often a company's most prized possession, if it were to fall into a competitor's hands, or even unauthorised hands, it could cause immense financial damage to a company, or as in the case of the recent attempted US naval espionage charge, potentially result in dire effects."

He added it's amazing so many people who don't need the information still have access to it and even more worrying they don't understand the risks of it leaking or being lost.

Clearswift also asked security professionals about their concerns surrounding company IP and 73 per cent of the respondents think their company will suffer a data breach in the next two years as a result of bad employee behaviour.

"Most employees are not acting maliciously but their carelessness can be just as damaging," Davies added. "Companies need to wake up to the fact employees have the potential to cause the company huge damage through their actions, and ensure that training, policies and technology are in place to minimise that risk.

"Those sitting on the Board need to pay attention, critical information needs to be governed at the highest levels or it could jeopardise the future of a company."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.