Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Firms Lack Controls to Prevent Exiting Employee Data-Pilfering

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Firms Lack Controls to Prevent Exiting Employee Data-Pilfering

Article excerpt

More than half of ex-employees who left their former employers last year--voluntarily or otherwise--admitted they made off with company data and other bits of insider information on their way out the door.

The survey by Symantec Corporation, Cupertino, California, and the Ponemon Institute, Traverse City, Michigan--Data Loss Risks During Downsizing--found that 59 percent of staffers who lost or left a job in 2008 stole confidential company information such as customer-contact lists.

If respondents' companies had implemented better data loss-prevention policies and technologies, many of the instances of data theft noted in the survey could have been prevented, according to Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

"The survey's findings should sound the alarm across all industries: Your sensitive data is walking out the door with your employees. Even if layoffs are not imminent, companies need to be more aware of who has access to sensitive business information," Ponemon said. "Our research suggests that a great deal of data loss is preventable through the use of clear policies, better communication with employees and adequate controls on data access."

Conducted in January, the Web-based survey polled nearly 1,000 adult participants located in the United States who left an employer within the past 12 months. Although respondents were spread across many different industries, the highest percentage of survey responses came from the financial services industry, according to Rob Greer, senior director of product management for data loss prevention solutions at Symantec. …

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