IT security breaches, even unintentional ones, could lead to the collapse of major global corporations, a new survey has claimed.
Research conducted for McAfee by Datamonitor found that a third of respondents believe that a major data loss incident involving accidental or malicious distribution of confidential data could put them out of business.
Datamonitor surveyed more than 1,400 IT professionals at companies with at least 250 employees in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Australia.
The report goes on to suggest that, while awareness regarding the danger of breaches is high, the problem continues to grow.
Almost two-thirds of respondents had experienced a data breach in the past year, and only six per cent of could say with certainty that they had not experienced one in the previous two years.
A data breach that exposes personal information is estimated to cost companies an average of $268,000 to inform their customers, even if the lost data is never used.
Over 60 per cent of respondents believe that data leakage is the doing of insiders, while 23 per cent believe the leaks are malicious.
The report also found that almost half of respondents do not debrief or monitor employees after they have given notice that they are leaving the company.
Some 23 per cent of respondents were able to estimate the total annual cost of data leakage, and the average figure they gave was $1.82m.
"Six in 10 companies admitting a breach in just the past year is ample proof that more needs to be done to address this very serious problem," said Dave DeWalt, president and chief executive at McAfee.
"Awareness alone is not enough. To protect customers, employees and shareholders, data loss prevention needs to become a top priority at every level of the organisation, from the boardroom to the lunch room."
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