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Security fears grow as a third of IT staff send sensitive data without encryption

More than a third of IT professionals send sensitive information outside of their organisation without any form of encryption, according to a new survey.

A questionnaire of 200 industry professionals at this year's Infosecurity Europe revealed that 36 per cent send important data without securing the information first.

Read more: 5 steps you can take to prevent rogue IT staff from damaging your business

CTO at Voltage Security, Terence Spies said, "This statistic is cause for alarm, particularly given that encryption provides protection for companies against cyber criminals, competing companies and even Governments; it is the key to keeping sensitive data away from prying eyes. Encrypting data at the source means that hackers or malicious actors will not be able to see or use the information, even if they do manage to intercept it."

However, analyst and director at Quocirca, Bob Tarzey felt that the survey results were actually encouraging.

"It is not that people are unaware, it is that insecure habits persist and most of the time, data is not compromised," he said in an interview with IT Security Guru.

"Also, encryption may be built into certain applications which users are unaware of. So, I doubt it is black and white about 'we never encrypt/we always encrypt', but a lot more sensitive data is transmitted safely today compared to five years ago."

Read more: 70+ IM services switch on mandatory encryption

Terence Spies also praised recent advances in data protection that have meant increased security without disrupting businesses.

He said, "Our users want to ensure that they are complying with all applicable laws, while not relinquishing their ability to provide the high level of protection of sensitive information that their customers demand of them and privacy mandates require. It is encouraging to see that three-quarters of those we spoke to at Infosecurity are aware of these data residency requirements and laws."

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