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Data Leakage During a Time of Economic Recession

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Data leakage is a growing concern for organizations regardless of size or type of business. Companies are waking up to the realities that data leakage could have a significant impact on their reputation and bottom line. In this article, Brad Bowers looks at some of the causes of data leakage and how a weak economy may increase the risks.
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There is little debate that the weak economy has had a transforming effect on Information Technology (IT). Over the last three years, we have witnessed many companies constricting IT budgets, freezing salaries, and in some cases significantly reducing their IT work force.

Even now, as we begin to dig out of the recession, we are seeing the residual ripple effect that years of reduced staffing and improper system upkeep has had on companies. Nowhere is this more evident than for information security, where the weak economic conditions have left many organizations unpatched and potential targets for data leakage, corporate espionage, and insider data breach.

Current State of Data Leakage

Data leakage and corporate espionage have been around for centuries, with many governments exhibiting countless examples of insiders, contractors, and trusted partners stealing and selling documents that contain the most sensitive of information.

Recently it seems that we have entered a kind of "perfect storm" where the sophistication of attackers, the trendiness of "leak sites," and the weak economy have made data leakage and espionage a significant concern for virtually all organizations regardless of size.

Data leakage doesn't discriminate; it affects all countries, industries, and cultural types. Data leakage also comes at a hefty price tag! It is estimated that data leakage and corporate espionage cost companies upwards of $200 billion dollar per year in lost revenue. This number is expected to rise as we continue to move toward a singular global market.

Not that long ago, if a person decided to open a small business he would be competing against a relatively small group of local competitors. This also meant that the customer base would be relatively small and limited to a confined geographical area. In the age of Ebay businesses and dot com startups, this is no longer the case.

A small business now has a global market for which it can provide goods and services. This dramatically increases the level of competition that a business must contend with and is an underlying reason why data leakage has become such a significant risk.

Many organizations are only beginning to realize the potential impact that data loss can have on their bottom line. In many ways, we have the proliferation of data leak sites such as Wikileaks and Cryptome to thank for putting the issue in the forefront of the news and in the minds of business executives.

The Wikileaks' publications and the bonanza of media coverage that has followed have demonstrated just how devastating a rogue employee with access can be for an organization.   

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