- Global survey of over 900 IT security professionals indicates that employees are seeking out, and finding, information that is irrelevant to their jobs
- Ninety-two percent of respondents report that employees attempt to access information they do not need for their day-to-day work
- Nearly two in three (66 percent) IT security professionals admit they have specifically sought out or accessed company information they didn’t need
One Identity, a proven leader in helping organizations get identity and access management (IAM) right, today released new global research revealing that the overwhelming majority of employees are deliberately seeking out information they are not permitted to access, exposing a major “snooping” problem among today’s workforce. The survey, conducted by Dimensional Research, polled more than 900 IT security professionals on trends and challenges related to managing employee access to corporate data. Among key findings, a remarkable 92 percent of respondents report that employees at their organizations try to access information that is not necessary for their day-to-day work – with nearly one in four (23 percent) admitting this behavior happens frequently.
Most alarmingly, the report indicates that IT security professionals themselves are among the worst offenders of corporate data snooping. One in three respondents admit to having accessed sensitive information that is not necessary for their day-to-day work – indicating ongoing abuse of elevated rights attributed to the IT security role. Other findings related to IT security professionals’ shocking snooping behavior include:
- Company performance information is a hot commodity: More than one in three (36 percent) of IT pros admit to looking for or accessing sensitive information about their company’s performance, apart from what is required to do for their job.
- IT security executives are the guiltiest by level: Seventy-one percent of executives admit to seeking out extraneous information, compared to 56 percent of non-manager-level IT security team members. Additionally, 45 percent of executives admit to snooping for or accessing sensitive company performance information specifically, compared to just 17 percent of non-manager team members.
- The smaller the company, the bigger the snoop: Thirty-eight percent of IT security professionals at companies with 500-2,000 employees admit to looking for or accessing sensitive performance data, versus 29 percent of professionals at companies with more than 5,000 employees.
- Workers in technology companies most likely to go on a sensitive information hunt: Forty-four percent of respondents working for technology companies admit to searching for sensitive company performance information, compared to 36 percent in financial services, 31 percent in manufacturing, and just 21 percent in healthcare.
“While insider threats tend to be non-malicious in intent, our research depicts a widespread, intrusive meddling from employees when it comes to information that falls outside their responsibility – and it could be that meddling that ends up putting their employers in hot water,” said John Milburn, president and general manager of One Identity. “Without proper governance of access permissions and rights, organizations give employees free reign to move about the enterprise and access sensitive information like financial performance data, confidential customer documentation, or a CEO’s personal files. If that information winds up in the wrong hands, corporate data loss, customer data exposure or compliance violations are possible risks that could result in irreversible damage to the business’s reputation or financial standing.”
Managing Snooping & Other Access-based Threats
Results released today reinforce a general finding prevalent within One Identity’s Global State of IAM Study: Companies are not adhering to basic identity and access management (IAM) best practices. In the case of employee snooping, role-based access control and strict governance of rights and permissions can help prevent potential bad actors from accessing confidential or sensitive information. With regard to snooping done by IT security professionals specifically, organizations can leverage identity intelligence to identify who has elevated rights and help pinpoint exactly where abuse of those rights is occurring to address this behavior. Additionally, a separate report based on the global study recently found that best practices around removing inactive accounts, revoking access to ex-employees, and updating rights of employees whose roles have changed are also overwhelmingly poorly applied.
One Identity is committed to helping organizations eradicate these ongoing challenges, and offers a full suite of access management, identity governance, privileged management and identity as a service solutions and services that help businesses “Get IAM Right” while enabling business agility. Learn more by attending any of a series of One Identity hosted webinars on the topic (http://bit.ly/2eSI5wi).
About the One Identity Global State of IAM Study
The One Identity Global State of IAM Study consisted of an online survey conducted by Dimensional Research of IT professionals with responsibility for IT security as a major part of their job and were very knowledgeable about IAM. A wide variety of questions were asked about experiences and challenges with IAM. A total of 913 individuals from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong completed the survey.
This report is based on the global study, and One Identity offers a free online executive summary of the data in a Key Findings Report, as well as an illustrated look at the data in an infographic. These materials can be found here.
About One Identity
One Identity, a Quest Software business, helps organizations get identity and access management (IAM) right. With a unique combination of offerings including a portfolio of identity governance, access management and privileged management, and identity as a service that help organizations reach their full potential, unimpeded by security yet safeguarded against threats. One Identity has proven to be a company unequalled in its commitment to its customers’ long-term IAM success. More than 7,500 customers worldwide depend on One Identity solutions to manage more than 125 million identities, enhancing their agility and efficiency while securing access to their data — wherever it might reside. For more information, visit http://www.oneidentity.com.
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