Survey warns of improperly protected intellectual property

Businesses are taking data loss prevention more seriously, but many are failing to keep other information safe from prying eyes, according to a study conducted for Microsoft and RSA.

Resources are being allocated to enhance data security for personal information, but Forrester Consulting has said that the same strict policies for data security are not being uniformly applied, leaving business secrets and corporate information at risk.

305 IT managers were questioned in a recent survey with 90 per cent indicating that they were in full compliance with data protection regulations. However, it was revealed that the majority are concerned with the safety of private information they store on behalf of customers and clients, with little attention paid to information generated and relevant internally.

RSA’s Sam Curry said that protecting the personal information of consumers, including payment card, medical and residential data, was of paramount concern for most businesses. Mr Curry is aiming to raise awareness relating to the protection of intellectual property which is significant to individual businesses.

Mr Curry pointed out that leaking intellectual property can seriously damage the long term performance of any business, as it can give competitors the edge and reduce market share. He said that the complexity of current hacking techniques is allowing data thieves to break into large corporations and harvest this kind of information with relative ease.

Respondents to the survey said that they were focusing efforts on preventing the accidental loss of data by tightening policies relating to portable storage. The survey’s author says that greater attention needs to be paid to third party firms and individuals that are known and trusted, as well as current and former employees who might have access to trade secrets.

The problem of data theft by former employees is said to be far more expensive than accidental loss, as they are able to access and steal significantly more information rather than that which can be stored on a USB memory stick.

Microsoft’s John Chirapurath added that inter-business partnerships were making leaks and thefts by employees an even greater risk for firms to consider.

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