Study: Most Technology Companies Have Data Losses

Over half of all companies doing business in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors have experienced data breaches that potentially exposed their intellectual property or customer information, a new research report shows.

According to the report, published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, not only have many technology providers been hit with the same sorts of data losses that have recently plagued other industries, but a large number of the firms have also failed to make sufficient investments in security technologies aimed at preventing future incidents.

Deloitte researchers said that security has long been “neglected” by technology, media and telecommunications companies despite their dependence on digital information to run their businesses.

The consulting company surveyed executives at 150 such companies and found that even in the face of public embarrassment, financial losses and potential litigation linked to data breaches, many of the businesses have yet to make necessary investments to more adequately protect their information.

According to the report, more than 50 percent of the companies surveyed admitted to having a data loss within the last 12 months, with roughly one-third of those incidents directly resulting in financial losses.

Half of the companies reporting data breaches said the incidents involved internal attacks or policy violations.

Of the firms surveyed, only 4 percent said their employers are doing enough to address the issue, and just 20 percent of respondents said that they feel confident that their companies’ intellectual property is being sufficiently safeguarded.

Some 24 percent of interviewees said that the security tools they have installed are being used effectively.

While phishing schemes continue to pose a major threat to companies’ customer information and brand reputations, only 18 percent of those executives surveyed said that their firms have employed technologies aimed at preventing the attacks.

Deloitte said that 37 percent of the companies it interviewed have provided additional security training to their employees within the last 12 months.

At the heart of the issue, the report said, is companies’ reluctance to increase their spending on new security measures.

While 74 percent of survey respondents said that they expect to spend more time and money on improving security in 2006, the average budget increase among those companies was only 9 percent.

Fewer than 15 percent of those increasing their security budgets planned to do so by over 20 percent, Deloitte said.

For advice on how to secure your network and applications, as well as the latest security news, visit Ziff Davis Internet’s Security IT Hub.

Despite the sobering statistics, Deloitte researchers said that technology, media and telecommunications companies are beginning to make changes to improve their IT defenses and security policies.

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