Survey: Majority Of Companies Lack Transparency Needed To Prevent Insider Threats
Despite a renewed focus on governance and transparency, a recent survey from SailPoint Technologies revealed a disconnect between regulatory compliance and proactive risk management.
This second Market Pulse Survey, conducted in April, focused on how companies are approaching identity governance during the economic downturn, with a particular focus on "insider threats." While 86 percent of the total respondents are concerned about insider threats, they cannot adequately manage the risk of data breaches because the majority of them can't summarize which workers have access to the most critical applications and data.
Massive layoffs are occurring as companies undertake cost-cutting measures, as well as corporate restructuring in the form of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. The magnitude of corporate churn on a global scale, compounded by restricted IT budgets and strained resources, has created a perfect storm for fraud and theft from employees in the affected industries.
Many organizations are trying to mitigate this insider threat risk. In fact, 77 percent of the companies SailPoint surveyed have a risk management function within their IT organization. However, nearly 30 percent of those companies don't allocate budget to that function. That means nearly 50 percent of the affected companies either do not have, or underfund, their IT risk management activities.
A quarter of the respondents were from the banking and financial services industries, evenly split across North America and Europe. All of these companies are concerned about insider threats, with 30 percent saying they're "very concerned." Within the healthcare and insurance companies who responded, 99 percent are concerned about insider threats.
The SailPoint survey also revealed a consistent struggle companies face when managing user access controls for large populations of employees, partners and customers. Of the 125 respondents, 28 percent noted they lack critical access controls and could be more exposed to security breaches than they think. Another 20 percent believe it's simply a matter of time before an internal breach occurs at their company.
"The survey showed that companies lack the necessary transparency to adequately manage worker access to sensitive data and applications," said Jackie Gilbert, SailPoint's vice president of marketing and cofounder. "Since we conducted our first survey last November, close to half of our respondents have undergone major layoffs. In light of this heightened risk, 'what you don't know' can have real consequences on businesses, and executives are starting to realize that. Our survey clearly showed that executives are rightfully concerned, and I suspect we'll see a more disciplined risk management approach for user access control in the coming months."
The survey results can be viewed at http://sailpoint.com/resources/files/2009-market-survey-report.pdf.