By Daniel Hunter

Employee error is one of the main causes of internal IT security incidents leading to leakage of confidential corporate data. This is according to the findings of the Global Corporate IT Security Risks 2013 survey conducted by B2B International and Kaspersky Lab this year.

Although vulnerabilities in software used by company staff in their daily duties is one of the top reasons behind internal IT security incidents (with 39 per cent of companies reporting this issue), the volume of different types of incidents taking place due to staff errors is equally high. Four out of five types of internal IT security incidents that took place within companies were closely related to erroneous employee actions.

Approximately 32 per cent of respondents reported leaks that took place as a result of employee mistakes. A slightly lower number of companies – 30 per cent – reported incidents where the employee was at fault over the loss or theft of mobile devices. 19 per cent of the companies participating in the survey reported that employees were involved in intentional leaks. 18 per cent reported incidents that were caused by incorrect use of mobile devices (via mobile email clients or text messaging).

At the same time, an average of 7 per cent of respondents reported that employee actions were the cause of leakages of critically confidential information relating to company operations. Most commonly, leakages of critically sensitive data occurred when employees were responsible for the loss or theft of mobile devices with 9 per cent of respondents reporting these types of incidents.

“These types of incidents can be eliminated — or at least the risk can be minimised — by implementing a set of measures including educating employees about IT threats and developing, putting into place, and overseeing the enforcement of appropriate security policies within the company. Another preventative action to consider is the use of specialised security solutions, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business," said David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

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