Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Small businesses suffer from theft of data

By Australian Financial Review's James Hutchison

Small businesses have called for tougher criminal ­penalties for former employees who steal or leak sensitive company information, as experts warned that ­millions in losses had arisen from increased data theft since the global financial crisis.

Figures from research firm Ponemon showed data theft has continued to be a major pain point for all businesses, with insiders – former employees or contractors – responsible for a third of all information breaches last year. These breaches were the result of either an employee’s negligence, or malicious attempts to siphon data from the business for personal gain.

The Australian businesses surveyed by Ponemon spent an average of $US2.27 million last year dealing with these breaches. Data theft investigators and security consultants said incidents had increased since the global economic downturn, particularly in the construction sector, as employees became desperate to win contracts or personally benefit from the business.

One consultant said the “law is silent” on corruption and data leakage in the private sector.

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