Humans are still the weakest link in information security

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According to a new report, more than half of all C-suite executives (53 percent) and 28 percent of small business owners who suffered a data breach say that human error or accidental loss by an external vendor/source was the cause.

The annual data protection report from information security service Shred-It also finds 21 percent of executives and 28 percent of small business owners admit deliberate theft or sabotage by an employee/insider was the cause of the data breach.

This compares to 43 percent of executives and 31 percent of SBOs who say deliberate theft or sabotage by an external vendor or source caused their organization to suffer a breach.

"For the second consecutive year, employee negligence and collaboration with external vendors continues to threaten the information security of US businesses," says Ann Nickolas, senior vice president at Stericycle, the provider of Shred-it information security solutions. "New to this year however, is that the report revealed how deliberate sabotage by both employees and external partners are very real risks organizations face today. The consequences of a data breach are extensive and are not limited to legal, financial and reputational damage. As the report showed, data breaches can affect employee retention too."

While the result of a data breach can have a variety of consequences for businesses, one of the most important factors is that a breach has an immediate effect on employee trust in an organization. In fact, 33 percent of the US workforce say they would likely look for a new job if their employer suffered a breach of customer (31 percent) or employee (35 percent) data. What's more, while nearly half of all consumers (47 percent) would wait to see how a business reacts to a data breach they’ve suffered before making up their mind about what to do, 23 percent would stop doing business with the company and 31 percent would tell others about the breach.

You can read more in the full report available from the Shred-It site.

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