The security giant commissioned a survey into the prevalence, causes and costs of data breaches experienced by Australian businesses.
The survey went out to 156 respondents across the country with 100 or more employees in each company.
It found more than 79 percent of organisations have experienced some form of data breach and approximately 40 percent have had anywhere from six to 20 known data breaches in the past five years.
A further 59 percent of businesses suspect they have experienced undetected data breaches meaning respondents were aware of information leaving an organisation but they were not sure how it was being taken.
The primary causes of data breaches were lost laptops (45 percent), human error (42 percent) lost mobile phones or portable devices (30 percent) hacked systems (29 percent) and malicious acts (28 percent).
The most common information lost include customer and employee records, intellectual property, commercially sensitive information and bank and credit card details.
“It’s a complex issue because it’s not a single point issue,” said Craig Scroggie, vice president and managing director at Symantec APAC.
He claimed the legislative landscape will change over the next 12-24 months, referring to the possible introduction of data breach disclosure laws, and it will be important for companies to monitor not the information going out but the information that is already stored.
“We are increasingly seeing a heightened awareness of how companies store sensitive data. As more people become mobile and work away from the office there is a genuine challenge ahead.
“Organisations are not just looking at the cost of a stolen piece of hardware but the overall cost to their branding and reputation,” added Scroggie.
Companies lose data frequently, survey finds
By Jenny Eagle on Oct 21, 2008 4:19PM