The study, sponsored by ArcSight, examines experienced IT security professionals' opinions related to the causes, responses and solutions to the insider threat to data integrity. For the purposes of the study, "insider threat" is defined as the misuse or destruction of sensitive or confidential information, as well as IT infrastructure that houses this data, by employees, contractors and others with access to sensitive or confidential information. The National Survey on Managing the Insider Threats found that:
* More than 78% of respondents reported one or more unreported insider-related security breaches within their company.
* 93% of respondents attributed lack of resources and 81% of respondents cited lack of accountability as two primary contributing factors to poor data security.
* Respondents ranked the top three threats to data integrity as:
1. Missed or failed security patches on critical applications
2. Accidental or malicious insider misuse of sensitive or confidential data
3. Virus, malware, and spyware infections
* 89% view insider threats as serious, yet only 49% think CEOs have the same perception.
Furthermore, the National Survey on Managing the Insider Threats calculated the average annual cost of insider data breaches at Â£1.8 / $3.4 million, and found that spending on technologies and programs aimed at addressing the insider threat seemed insufficient.
"Whether through neglectful or malicious activity, insiders pose a constant and serious threat to data integrity, and our study helps to identify the primary causes for this serious challenge to corporate security," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute. "By identifying causes, we believe our efforts can also help IT security professionals develop winning strategies for addressing the insider threat."
Steve Sommer, senior vice president of marketing and business development at ArcSight said: "While addressing insider threats has become a top priority for many of the commercial and government organizations we work with, this study is evidence that more education is necessary beyond the IT security department on the potential threat, whether it's losing control over confidential information or insider activity related to IT sabotage and fraud. While many IT security professionals use a combination of manual controls and technologies to address insider threats, they require a combination of incident prevention, detection and response. We're helping organizations gain a comprehensive view into their security postures for early insight into suspicious activity."