The July edition of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is going to have an article that will provide some eye-opening information on the main reason for the loss of sensitive data. You may be saying, “Well, duh – its hackers.” Everyone loves to blame hackers, but you may be surprised at the number one culprit.
According to research from the University of Washington, corporations are doing the best job of losing sensitive data, without any help from hackers, thank you very much. The research shows that about 6 million records are lost by corporations per month. Of that number, only about 30 percent are attributed to hackers.
About 60 percent is due to some type of mismanagement by the company, which would include lost hardware (um… how about encrypting your hardware?), accidentally posting the information online (crazy, isn’t it…), insider theft (most corporations cannot even keep employees from stealing pens, so…) or administrative errors (not sure what that one means).
Most U.S. states have laws that require a company to disclose data breach incidents and that could be a reason for the spike in incidents that have been reported in the past few years. However, another reason could be that corporations are holding huge amounts of sensitive data. The law of averages indicates that there are going to be losses of that data, but hackers are not usually the reason behind those losses.
Be on the lookout for the article from JCMC and get all the stats from the University of Washington’s study.