IT | Security

The Economy and Data Leakage

By: Absolute Team | 7/22/2011

It's obvious that data breaches can have a significant impact on the reputation and bottom line of companies both large and small. Many people wonder if the economy has an impact on the risks of data breaches, and Brad Bowers of InformIT discusses just what those could be. In particular, he looks to the increased risk that economic hardship may have on insider threats - the loss of data from insiders, contractors or partners. However, to date, we haven't yet seen any impact from these threats... let's discuss the state of things...

Brad Bowers cites the proliferation of leak sites such as Wikileaks, along with high profile data breaches in recent months, as making data breaches a hot topic in the news, which more significantly impacts the brand and bottom line. I agree this is true. However, I don't see that the reasons behind why people leak data have become more intensified now as opposed to six months ago - when the economy was in a relatively similar position to now.

Back to the economy, the author is quoted as saying:

"A weak economy acts as a catalyst and has an amplifying effect on all the previously mentioned factors of data leakage. A weak economy is exactly the time when companies must be more vigilant in ensuring that proper controls are in place to identify and mitigate data loss."

This is indeed very true, and many articles wrote specifically about these threats in the early months of the economic recession. However, data simply hasn't supported that data leakage as the result of insider threats has risen as a result. In fact, the data supports more that security has been improving.

Gartner has forecasted that IT spending has been on the rise, despite the economic downturn. In reports out earlier this year, data has shown that insider attacks have not jumped thus far. These are promising things for mitigating data security risks.

As a whole, there has been little increase in risks associated with insider threats in the economic downturn. In individual cases, however, I'm sure this is not the case. If your company is facing economic hardship, the article provides some great resources on how to mitigate these insider risks. If your company is doing ok, insider threats are simply one of many risks you must weigh in the development and maintenance of your multi-layered security strategy.