"Secrets" comprise more than two-thirds of companies' information portfolios and more than 62 percent of the value of those portfolios, according to the study. But when it comes to investing time and resources, enterprises spend roughly the same amount of time and money on compliance-driven initiatives -- protecting "custodial data," Forrester says -- as they do on protecting corporate secrets.
"This strongly suggests that investments are overweighed toward compliance," the study says.
The study argues that accidental data leaks, which are the most frequent, seldom cause real loss of secrets. "By contrast, employee theft of sensitive information is 10 times costlier on a per-incident basis than any single incident caused by accidents: hundreds of thousands of dollars versus tens of thousands," Forrester says.
Companies that have the most valuable information are those that are attacked most frequently, according to the study. "The 'portfolio value' of the information managed by the top quartile of enterprises was 20 times higher than the bottom quartile," Forrester reports. "These high-value enterprises had four times as many security incidents as low-value firms.
"High-value firms are not sufficiently protecting data from theft and abuse by third parties. They had six times more data security incidents due to outside parties than low-value firms, even though the number of third parties they work with is only 60 percent greater."
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.