European mid-size businesses unprepared for data security risks, study says

Most companies treat data protection as an IT issue and ignore employee-related information risks, the study says

European mid-size businesses are not doing enough to protect their sensitive data, and need to take employee-related information security threats more seriously, according to a study sponsored by Iron Mountain.

The study was conducted by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and is based on a survey of 600 mid-sized businesses from 6 European countries -- the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary.

PwC considered 34 measures that companies should have in place in order to minimize information risks, and scored them in four categories -- strategy, people, communication and security -- for a possible total of 100 points.

On average, the surveyed organizations scored 40.6 points on the index, which is far from desirable. PwC and Iron Mountain believe that 50 would be a minimum acceptable score, said Patrick Keddy, Iron Mountain's senior vice president for Western Europe.

Only 50 percent of businesses considered information risk as one of their top three business risks and only 36 percent of businesses had an information strategy in place, whose effectiveness was properly monitored.

Businesses from Hungary scored the highest -- 45.4 points -- while companies from the UK scored the lowest -- 36. Organizations from the financial services, insurance and pharmaceutical sectors scored above average, while those from the manufacturing and legal sectors scored lowest.

The study found that 59 percent of businesses believe that investing in technology will facilitate data protection and, therefore, treat data security mainly as an IT issue. This ignores the fact that one of the biggest threats to data security stems from employee behavior and the workplace culture, PwC said.

While the surveyed companies generally acknowledged the presence of employee-related threats, in respect to everything from indifference to malicious intent, very few of them were doing anything practical to address these in a realistic manner, Keddy said.

The study found that businesses fared worst when it came to implementing measures in the communication and people categories. These include enforcing an Internet and social media usage policy, conducting employee training in respect to information risk, performing personnel background checks and providing clear guidance on the storage and safe disposal of physical and electronic documents.

As many as 60 percent of organizations were unsure whether their employees had the proper tools to deal with data security risks and a quarter of them did not conduct personnel background checks, the survey found.

The study determined that businesses which scored highest on the index treated information risk as a boardroom issue, had a multi-disciplinary team in charge of information risk and had a balanced information strategy in place.

No company, regardless of business sector or country of origin, scored particularly well in any of the information risk prevention categories identified by the index and that's worrying, Keddy said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?