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Deloitte: Fewer Internal Breaches At Financial Institutions In '08

Survey of global financial institutions shows tightening budgets and significantly shrinking number of banks with programs in place for managing compliance
First, the good news: Internal data breaches at North American financial institutions dropped to 27 percent in 2008, down from 44 percent in 2007.

Now the bad news: They still have one of the highest rates of external breaches, yet all the while the economic crisis is taking its toll on security budgets and the profile of security is diminishing at the executive level, according to Deloitte's annual security survey (PDF) of financial institutions around the world.

The wide-ranging report, taken in 2008, surveyed senior security officers at top global banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies from 32 different countries. Among the results, Deloitte also found a significant drop in the number of institutions with privacy compliance programs. In 2007 around 77 percent of financial institutions worldwide had a program in place for managing compliance, but only 48 percent had one last year.

Such a big drop is of concern given regulatory compliance is the No. 1 priority at these institutions, according to the report, followed by identity and access management and data leakage.

The report cites a lack of resources as the top reason why security projects fail in these organizations, many of which consider the human factor a big factor in their security posture. In fact, 86 percent of information systems failures are caused by human error, according to the report. Technology was the cause for 63 percent of these failures.

Financial institutions are confident, for the most part, in their ability to prevent external attacks, with 66 percent reporting to be either "extremely" confident or "very" confident.

They aren't as sure, however, about internal attack prevention: Only 36 are either extremely or very confident that they are able to prevent internal breaches. They are also more worried about internal misconduct by their employees (36 percent) than by external people (13 percent). More than 70 percent have trained employees on what to look for and how to report suspicious behavior of their co-workers.

Unauthorized access to personal data was overwhelmingly the top privacy concern, cited by 71 percent of respondents.

As for actual breaches, 47 percent say they have experienced repeated breaches from the outside during the past 12 months, while 27 percent said they came from inside of the organization.

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