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Research Identifies IT Departments As Biggest Source of Data Leakage

Orthus Limited released the results from monitoring over 100,000 hours of user activity captured over the last year through the delivery of their unique Data Leakage Audit Service.

The research analysed the ways in which users accessed, processed, stored and transmitted corporate sensitive information including personal information, financial information, and intellectual property. It identified which users were removing sensitive data, where they worked and exactly how and when it was removed. The results were surprising.

The findings showed that information technology (IT) personnel were responsible for an overwhelming 30% of all incidents of data leakage identified during the course of the year's research. The finding strongly supported the premise that trusted users are the most likely to be the source of information leaks.

The analysis identified exactly who and how sensitive information assets are removed from the corporate infrastructure providing time and date stamped visual evidence of these "data leaks".

The analysis identified that the following departments were responsible for the amount of data leakage identified:

* Information Technology Department – responsible for 30% of the incidents identified
* Customer Service Department – responsible for 22% of the incidents identified
* Other – (Non-Traditional Departments, third party and contractors) - responsible for 16% of the incidents identified
* Sales Department – responsible for 12% of the incidents identified
* Operations Department – responsible for 10% of the incidents identified
* Marketing Department - responsible for 6% of the incidents identified
* Human Resources Department – responsible for 2% of the incidents identified
* Legal Department – responsible for 2% of the incidents identified

Richard Hollis, Managing Director of Orthus said "The research proves the rule: that the higher level of access privileges – the greater the propensity for abuse. Companies need to address the insider as the primary threat to their business. Until this is done no real security can be achieved".

The research was accomplished through the deployment of software agents on endpoints, servers and terminal servers.

The software visually recorded evidence of data being removed through unauthorised actions.

The research for instance identified if and when sensitive information was sent or copied to an unauthorised device (such as a PDA, MP3 player, USB flash drive or mobile phone) or if it was uploaded or transferred through an unauthorised application (IM or social networking sites).

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.