Contractors, suppliers, competitors cause more security incidents in Asia-Pac than globally

Employees, competitors, and contractors were far more likely to be responsible for security incidents in the Asia-Pacific region than overall in the world, a recent major survey of security attitudes and experiences has found.

According to PwC's recent Global State of Information Security Survey 2014, current service providers, consultants and contractors were among the most common source of security incidents – accounting for 20.2 per cent of incidents among Asia-Pacific companies. By comparison, such contractors were only accountable in 15.8 per cent of incidents worldwide.

Former service providers, consultants and contractors were equally overrepresented amongst security incidents at Asian companies (16.1 per cent of incidents vs 13.2 per cent worldwide).

Suppliers and business partners were also more likely to be the source of security incidents in Asia than elsewhere, with 13.6 per cent of Asian respondents and just 11.8 per cent of worldwide respondents fingering suppliers and business partners for security incidents.

Competitors were far more likely to be blamed for security incidents in Asia (20.9 per cent vs 14.4 per cent worldwide), with organised crime (14.2 per cent vs 12.1 per cent) and activists (12.6 per cent vs 10.4 per cent) also overrepresented in Asia compared with global benchmarks.

The high level of competitor-driven security incidents is reflected in an equally disproportionate level of intellectual property-related damage: Asia-Pacific companies reported higher levels of compromise of employee records (42.6 per cent vs 34.9 per cent globally), customer records (34.0 per cent vs 41.3 per cent), soft IP (22.4 per cent vs 20.1 per cent), and hard IP (16.2 per cent vs 12.8 per cent).

Business partners or suppliers were lost as a result of security incidents in 15.2 per cent of cases, compared with 11.4 per cent of cases worldwide.

Despite the higher incidence of partner and supplier-based security breaches, most companies were still taking the security compliance of their partners and suppliers on faith, according to the survey. Just 24.6 per cent of respondents said their organisational security policy included procedures and standards with which partners and suppliers must comply – ahead of 21.7 per cent worldwide. Some 26.2 per cent of companies planned to invest in security baselines and standards for external partners, customers, suppliers and vendors – ahead of 23.7 per cent globally.

The figures contradict findings in the same study that Asian companies are more confident in the security protections taken by partners and suppliers than in the rest of the world: 76.7 per cent of Asian companies were very or somewhat confident in those protections, compared with 72.4 per cent of all respondents around the world. Just 52.5 per cent of Asia-Pacific companies said they ran compliance audits of third parties that handle personal data of customers and employees.

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