Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats //

Vulnerability Management

9/15/2016
10:15 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data Loss Risks Rise In The Age Of Collaboration

Most organizations believe they have lost sensitive information due to external file sharing and third-party collaboration.

The common business practice of collaboration with partners, customers, contractors, and other third parties is driving concerns about sensitive data loss, new studies show.

Nearly 35% of organizations say 26% to 50% of their employees regularly share files with audiences outside the organization, which has increased concern about losing sensitive corporate data, according to an Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) report. Nearly all (98%) of survey participants report that sensitive data loss is a top or significant concern, and many claim it is likely their business has already lost data via several routes in the last 12 months.

The study, which was commissioned by Seclore, surveyed 200 IT and cybersecurity professionals responsible for planning, implementing, or operating their organization's infosec policies and safeguards. The goal was to measure challenges and best practices for secure data transfer among internal and external audiences.

Respondents explained their corporate use of enterprise file sync and share (EFSS), FTP and email, data security control usage, and need for enterprise digital rights management (EDRM).

"The research conducted by ESG reveals that a majority of participating organizations feel it is very or somewhat likely that sensitive data has been lost or accessed inappropriately via a variety of ways including those that entail external collaboration," writes ESG senior analyst and report author Doug Cahill.

There are several means through which companies lose sensitive data, Cahill explains. Information can be accidentally shared via lost portable storage devices, stolen credentials, malicious software, unauthorized access to data, theft by partners or customers, inadvertent emails to the wrong people, or unauthorized cloud/EFSS apps.

(Image: Enterprise Strategy Group)

(Image: Enterprise Strategy Group)

Research indicates sensitive data loss is not limited to hackers. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said it is "very likely" an employee has stolen sensitive data in the last year, and 28% said the same about third parties.

Seclore CEO Vishal Gupta explains the various ways companies share sensitive data and how this can be dangerous. HR information is often shared with external payroll processors; financial data is shared with board members and third-party advisors; tech specs and drawings are shared with contracted engineers.

"There are dozens of stories where an engineer shared [intellectual property] with a competitor or took it to start their own company," he cautions. "The loss in revenue and market share is a huge business risk."

Concerns about protecting sensitive corporate information have slowed the adoption of cloud and BYOD technologies, Cahill says. The combination of cloud apps and mobility expands the surface area for potential attacks and increases the risk of data loss.

"The efficiencies and agility provided by the cloud and mobility make the associated workstreams the new normal of business operations, and thus necessitates data security solutions which create a data perimeter with a frictionless end-user experience," he explains.

To protect their data, businesses need the type of security technologies that automatically secure the "five W's" of data control: who can access which files, what they can do with the files, from which location or device, and when.

The findings from ESG align closely with similar research from Intel McAfee Labs, which aimed to measure data loss trends. Intel commissioned the study to learn more about data theft, types of data being stolen, and how data exits organizations.

The number of data loss incidents varies depending on the size of an organization. Small businesses (1,000-3,000 employees) report a median of 11-20 incidents per day. Midsize companies (3,001-5,000 employees) report a median of 21-30 per day, and large companies (5,000+ employees) report a median of 31-50 data loss incidents daily.

It seems many businesses are not taking the right precautions to protect their data. Researchers discovered that only 37% of businesses monitor physical media like thumb drives, even though these devices contribute almost 40% of data loss occurrences.

Nearly 60% of respondents have launched cloud-based apps and nearly 90% claim to have implemented a type of protection strategy for cloud storage or processing. However, only 12% have created visibility into data activity in the cloud.

The Intel McAfee research also discovered more than a quarter of companies don't monitor the sharing of, or access to, sensitive employee or customer information. Only 37% of small- to medium-sized businesses monitor the use of both; this rises to half for large businesses.

This needs to change, as the gap between data loss and breach discovery is growing. What's more, the most commonly used forms of data loss prevention are becoming less effective against new targets of theft. Unstructured data types are harder to monitor than structured data, and companies relying on default data loss prevention may think their safeguards are stronger than they are.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
ChandanaP946
50%
50%
ChandanaP946,
User Rank: Strategist
9/16/2016 | 11:12:34 AM
I agree
True! Most of the data breaches and data loss cases have occured due to sheer ignorance and negligence of users. https://cyware.com/journal/top-5-cases-data-breach-caused-human-error/
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12420
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In Apache SpamAssassin before 3.4.3, a message can be crafted in a way to use excessive resources. Upgrading to SA 3.4.3 as soon as possible is the recommended fix but details will not be shared publicly.
CVE-2019-16774
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In phpfastcache before 5.1.3, there is a possible object injection vulnerability in cookie driver.
CVE-2018-11805
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In Apache SpamAssassin before 3.4.3, nefarious CF files can be configured to run system commands without any output or errors. With this, exploits can be injected in a number of scenarios. In addition to upgrading to SA 3.4.3, we recommend that users should only use update channels or 3rd party .cf ...
CVE-2019-5061
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the hostapd 2.6, where an attacker could trigger AP to send IAPP location updates for stations, before the required authentication process has completed. This could lead to different denial of service scenarios, either by causing CAM table att...
CVE-2019-5062
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the 802.11w security state handling for hostapd 2.6 connected clients with valid 802.11w sessions. By simulating an incomplete new association, an attacker can trigger a deauthentication against stations using 802.11w, resulting in a denial of...