94% Of Organizations Have Suffered Insider Data Breaches, So Why Aren’t These a Bigger Worry?

Sometimes, 2+2 does not = 4, it seems. When employees falling for phishing attempts represent one of the two biggest preludes to a ransomware attack, why are 28% of IT leaders in a recent survey more concerned about malicious insiders than human error? Why  are only 21% of those surveyed most concerned about human error?

London, UK – 13th July 2021 – Egress’ Insider Data Breach Survey 2021 has revealed that an overwhelming 94% of organisations have experienced insider data breaches in the last year. Human error was the top cause of serious incidents, according to 84% of IT leaders surveyed. However, IT leaders are more concerned about malicious insiders, with 28% indicating that intentionally malicious behaviour is their biggest fear. Despite causing the most incidents, human error came bottom of the list, with just over one-fifth (21%) saying that it’s their biggest concern.

Additionally, almost three-quarters (74%) of organisations have been breached because of employees breaking security rules, and 73% have been the victim of phishing attacks.

The survey, independently conducted by Arlington Research on behalf of Egress, surveyed 500 IT leaders and 3,000 employees in the US and UK across vertical sectors including financial services, healthcare and legal.

Read the full press release for more highlights.

So are non-malicious insider errors being underprioritized?  Consider another study that came out this week:

According to a recent study conducted by Aberdeen and commissioned by Code42, data breaches from insiders can cost as much as 20% of annual revenue. Perhaps just as important, the study showcased that at least one in three reported data breaches involve an insider. Both accidental and malicious Insider Risk can cost businesses material portions of revenue on an ongoing annual basis.

Consider two of that study‘s key findings:

  • At least one in three (33%) of reported data breaches involve an insider. Over three-quarters (78%) of those insider data breaches involve unintentional data loss or exposure, demonstrating that malicious data theft and exposure is not the most significant Insider Risk facing security teams.
  • Every day, trusted insiders cause an average of 13 data exposure events by moving corporate files to untrusted locations via email, messaging, cloud or removable media.

And one last bit of statistics for now — the following from an Osterman Research study commissioned by Trend Micro:

The report further split the threat landscape into 17 types of security incident and found 84% of respondents had experienced at least one of these—highlighting the prevalence of phishing and ransomware. Most common were successful:

  • Business email compromise (BEC) attack – 53%
  • Phishing messages resulting in malware infection – 49%
  • Account compromise – 47%

So what — other than repeating exercises to try to train employees to recognize phishing attempts or to refrain from clicking on links — are entities doing these days to prevent or significantly reduce human error incidents? And what are they doing — via software solutions or other — to immediately detect any errors before there is a major incident?

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