Employees Causing Security Threats With Persistent Use of Personal Cloud-Based Lockers, File Sync Services

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Sep 25, 2013 08:19 am PST

LONDON (UK), XX September 2013:  Nearly 30% of employees are using personal cloud services to store work-related documents, according to a survey conducted at recent technology trade shows in which 5% of respondents also admitted to uploading confidential data to their personal cloud accounts. The severity of this threat to their employers is the subject of a new report from Varonis Systems, Inc., the leading provider of access, governance and retention solutions for human-generated data, which conducted the survey.

The survey of over 120 companies was conducted at Microsoft TechEd events in June. It was aimed at uncovering how much confidential information is being leaked beyond corporate walls. One of the leading causes for data leakage is from employees who upload sensitive, work-related data to their personal cloud accounts.  The survey found that a small percentage of employees are uploading a large number of files containing confidential work-related data.  Additionally, the survey sought to find out what measures companies are taking to deter employees from absconding with this sensitive data as they leave the company.

“Before a company can begin to address the leakage of intellectual property, it’s important to accurately identify the source of the leaks and address the low-hanging fruit,” said David Gibson, VP of Marketing at Varonis. “We were surprised by the low awareness level of NDAs among employees. While the signing of NDAs is typically part of an employee’s onboarding process, it is often forgotten. It’s clear that employers can do more to improve employee knowledge of their confidentiality obligations. NDA awareness should be part of a comprehensive IP protection program that also includes employee training along with the implementation of proper access and security controls for sensitive, non-public data.”

The survey indicates that having an NDA in place can help reduce the number of employees who upload sensitive data to their cloud accounts without company approval to 13% from a current average of 18%. “The data may be showing that those employees who say they signed an NDA are in organisations that have such IP programs and therefore have greater awareness of their legal risks in uploading sensitive data to the cloud,” Gibson observed.

In the survey, 44% of employees claim to have not signed NDAs. This is a sign that companies have significant room for improvement in communicating the value and importance of their IP to their workers.

Another way to significantly reduce IP leakage is to simply ask employees during an exit interview to return or delete any data that belongs to the organisation. However, results from the survey indicated that only 46% of respondents were asked to return digital content when leaving their last position.

In addition to the best practices listed in the report, organisations can further protect themselves against sensitive data leakage by blocking public cloud services and offering a sanctioned alternative to public cloud-based lockers that offer the same user experience while keeping data under the organisation’s control.

To see this research report in full, please visit: http://www.varonis.com/research

About Varonis

Varonis is the foremost innovator and provider of access, governance and retention solutions for human-generated data, the fastest-growing and most sensitive class of digital information. Based on patented technology and a highly accurate analytics engine, Varonis solutions give organisations total visibility and control over their data, ensuring that only the right users have access to the right data at all times from all devices, all use is monitored, and abuse is flagged.

Varonis makes digital collaboration secure, effortless and efficient so that people can create and share content easily, and organisations can extract more value from their content while being confident that it is protected and managed efficiently.

Voted one of the “Fast 50 Reader Favorites” on FastCompany.com, and winner of the SC Magazine Innovation, Product or Service of the Year, and Best Network Security Awards, Varonis has more than 2,000 customers worldwide and is headquartered in New York, with regional offices in Europe and Asia.

Varonis, the Varonis logo, DatAdvantage®, DataPrivilege® and the IDU Classification Framework® are registered trademarks of Varonis® Systems in the United States and/or other countries and Metadata Framework™, DatAnywhere™, and Data Transport Engine™ are under a registration process in the United States and/or other countries. All other product and company names and marks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners and are mentioned for identification purposes only.

About DatAnywhere

DatAnywhere enables organisations to improve the security around sensitive data by providing an alternative to cloud-based file sharing solutions that is secure and easy to use. Varonis DatAnywhere provides the experience most people associate with cloud file-sharing services, but provides it using existing, on-premise infrastructure. For secure, easy file-based collaboration with employees and third parties such as customers, suppliers or partners, DatAnywhere provides quick time-to-value without moving data from existing file shares, without needing to re-permission, and without sacrificing existing infrastructure.