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"The level of concern and anxiety about corporate data loss is on the rise, and the recession has only increased the pressure on companies to enforce corporate e-mail and social media policies. It's no longer just an IT department concern," said Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint. "We're seeing C-level executives and management paying attention as data loss becomes a very real, public threat to companies."
Regulatory issues concern many enterprises: 74% of respondents are "concerned" or "very concerned" about ensuring compliance with financial disclosure and corporate governance regulations, while 72% are equally worried about protecting the confidentiality of personal identity and financial information in outbound e-mail, the study found. Following close behind, 71% of those surveyed were "concerned" or "very concerned" about making certain that employees or ex-workers cannot use e-mail to disseminate company trade secrets or intellectual property, and ensuring that workers cannot use e-mail to share confidential internal memos.
Many businesses have taken steps to protect private information, with 65% using technologies to detect spam and malware in e-mail, the study found. Fifty-four percent use technology for e-mail archiving, and 48% perform regular audits of outbound e-mail content, according to the report. Enterprises use other technologies, including automatic encryption; software that detects private financial or health data in e-mails; and software that detects intellectual property in outbound e-mail, the study said.
In addition, 37% of companies surveyed employ people who monitor outbound e-mail content, while 33% have staff whose primary or exclusive job is to read or analyze outbound e-mail, Proofpoint said.
To protect corporate data from the newer threat of social media sites, a number of enterprises enacted outright bans on their use. Indeed, 63% bar the use of P2P file-sharing sites; 53% ban Facebook; a similar number outlaw media-sharing sites like YouTube; and 49% prohibit the use of Twitter, the study found. In addition, 40% block employee use of personal webmail; 39% bar the use of personal websites; 38% ban personal use of corporate e-mail during work hours; and 31% prohibit employees' use of LinkedIn, according to Proofpoint.
Corporations have taken other steps, including acceptable use policies for e-mail, blogs, and other postings; ethics policies; and social media policies, the study showed.