Value of data unrecognised by many, study finds

Research suggests that most employees are not aware of the intrinsic value of data and, as such, focus more on lessening the chances of damaging mobile devices and portable storage, rather than actively minimising the threat of loss or theft.

There is clearly a confusion among most employees as 58 per cent of respondents to a recent study conducted by BlockMaster, said that they thought damaging a laptop to the extent that it is necessary to replace it, would prove to be more costly than a data loss incident caused by misplacing a portable USB memory stick.

Over 1000 people took part in the survey and a series of questions allowed the analysts to discover that while 29 per cent of people consider data loss to be a serious incident, about the same proportion consider being stuck in work overnight as a result of poor weather, to be the equivalent of a data loss disaster.

BlockMaster’s Anders Kjellander, admitted that while the results were clearly worrying, he was not surprised to find that many employees are simply unaware of the value of data to a business.

Mr Kjellander restated the point that IT hardware is less valuable to any organisation than the data which is stored upon it. He explained that while a broken computer is replaceable, lost or stolen data cannot be recovered.

Mr Kjellander pointed to the recent Wikileaks scandal as a clear indication that once data has made it out of safe hands, it can never be corralled back into secrecy. While the costs of replacing hardware are quantifiable, data loss can have an ongoing financial impact that is impossible to measure in the short term, according to SC Magazine.

Some believe that employees put a greater emphasis on protecting devices rather than data because they relate to corporate phones or laptops in the same way that they would to a personal device, which can be unhelpful in the fight against data loss and theft.

Automating security and ensuring that password protection and encryption are the very minimum levels of loss prevention in place is advised.

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