Data loss overtakes physical theft in global business community

Businesses from around the world are now more likely to suffer from data loss and digital theft, than the actual appropriation of material assets, according to a report conducted by Kroll.

The latest Annual Global Fraud Report found that 27.3 per cent of firms have announced the theft of data during the last year. In 2009 this figure was just 18 per cent, showing that there has been a significant increase.

There has been a smaller drop in the number of businesses reporting the theft of material goods, with 2009’s level of 28 per cent, falling to 27.2 per cent in 2010.

Kroll’s Richard Plansky, said that he anticipates this to be a continuing trend that is gathering momentum. He puts this down to the fact that information is now the lifeblood of the global economy and as such, businesses place greater importance on concepts rather than tangible products.

Speaking to Infosecurity Magazine, Mr Plansky explained that the move towards the digital age was both beneficial and a hindrance. While giving greater access to important information can improve productivity, he also said that this allows those with malicious plans a greater chance to influence and corrupt data.

The survey concluded that it was those businesses in the financial sector that had seen the most significant increase in the number of data theft incidents, up to 42 per cent from 24 per cent in 2009. Media and telecoms firms were also hit with a big increase which saw 37 per cent report data theft incidents in 2010.

The increasing complexity of network infrastructures is being labelled as the key cause for heightening the threat of security breaches by 28 per cent of those questioned as part of the survey. In turn nearly half of all firms are going to invest in data protection within the coming year, which is actually a drop of three per cent compared to the previous 12 month period.

Only firms with revenues in excess of half a billion dollars were included in this survey, so the significant threat of data theft is clearly being felt on a global scale in all industries.

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