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8/3/2010
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IT Pros Use Personal Email, Storage Devices To Move Company Files

New survey shows how convenience typically wins over security

Personal email accounts are one of the main conduits of choice for IT professionals to bypass corporate controls and send sensitive or confidential information, according to a new survey.

The survey, taken at InfoSecurity Europe by Ipswitch, found that 40 percent of IT pros use their personal accounts to hide their file transfers. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents say they send classified information on payroll, customers, and financials via unsecured email at least once a month, and 34 percent do so daily. That doesn't mean it's all about deceit: Many were looking for convenience and speed of transfer, according to Ipswitch.

"Regardless of the motive, employees that send confidential files via unsecured e-mail are putting their organizations at risk for a breach. Personal email relinquishes security, auditability, and compliance," says L. Frank Kenney, vice president of global strategy for Ipswitch.

More than 40 percent say they use their personal USBs and DVDs to back up work files monthly. And 70 percent access files weekly from their employers via mobile devices, Webmail, and remote connections.

"Personal devices are far too easily lost or stolen," Ipswitch's Kenney says. "They do provide a simple means of backing up and sharing information, but using them to transfer sensitive data will cause major problems -- internally and externally -- if they are misplaced."

Meanwhile, 62 percent say they have file-sharing policies in their organizations, but 72 percent say they don't have the ability to see files moving inside and outside the organization. "At the heart of the problem is visibility, or lack thereof," Kenney says.

Ipswitch provides more insight to the report via this YouTube clip.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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