More Kiwi businesses are paying attention to DLP: Symantec

In a study, Symantec and the Ponemon Institute revealed that human errors and system problems caused two-thirds of data breaches in 2012

In the wake of issues such as the ACC leaks, New Zealand organisations are paying much more attention to data loss prevention. It's something that requires the business and IT to work together.

"However, the business is saying to IT 'we're too busy -- you find something and do it'," says Symantec spokesman Stuart Preston. "But it's not solely a technology problem; it's in fact a business issue.

"It's topical for all our clients but our issue is being able to engage with the business."

In a study released last June, Symantec and the Ponemon Institute revealed that human errors and system problems caused two-thirds of data breaches in 2012, pushing the global average cost to $136 per record. Issues included employees mishandling of confidential data, lack of system controls, and violations of industry and government regulations. The global cost per compromised customer record was up over the previous year.

The 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis was the eighth annual global report based on data breach experiences of 277 companies in nine countries.

Human errors and system problems accounted for 64 per cent of data breaches, while prior research showed that 62 per cent of employees thought it acceptable to transfer corporate data outside the company. The majority never deleted data, leaving it vulnerable to data leaks. Malicious or criminal attacks caused 37 per cent of data breaches, and were the most costly.

A more recent report found a general lack of security awareness when it came to using mobile devices. The 2013 Norton Report found that 27 per cent of New Zealand survey respondents had experienced mobile cyber crime in the past year, compared to 16 per cent in 2012. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents used their personal devices for work-related activities.

Preston says hackers are moving more toward manufacturing companies and small to medium businesses because they all have linkages with financial institutions and, importantly, because the industries aren't regulated by requirements such as Sarbannes Oxley.

He believes there is a case for compulsory disclosure, that there should be consequences and the organisations should go public about data breaches.

"We're talking to the Privacy Commission," he says. "Over the past 18 months, the government has become much more aware of the situation."

It comes back to being a business issue, he says, where data should be measured and processes around that automated. "It's relatively easy to have a policy."

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