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61% of IT professionals have experienced a serious data breach, reveals McAfee

McAfee has released its Grand Theft Data II report, which revealed that despite improvements in combating cybercrime and threats, IT security professionals are still struggling to fully secure their organisation and protect against breaches.

The report shows that 61% have experienced a data breach at their current employer. Adding to this challenge, data breaches are becoming more serious as cybercriminals continue to target intellectual property putting the reputation of the company brand at risk and increasing financial liability, said McAfee.

The security company’s study demonstrates the need for a cybersecurity strategy that includes implementing integrated security solutions combined with employee training and an overall culture of security throughout the organisation to reduce future breaches.

“Threats have evolved and will continue to become even more sophisticated,” said Candace Worley, vice president and chief technical strategist at McAfee. “Organisations need to augment security measures by implementing a culture of security and emphasising that all employees are part of an organisation’s security posture, not just the IT team. To stay ahead of threats, it is critical companies provide a holistic approach to improving security process by not only utilising an integrated security solution but also practicing good security hygiene.”

The McAfee report shows that data is now being stolen by a wide range of methods, with no single technique dominating the industry. The top vectors used to exfiltrate data are database leaks, cloud applications and removable USB drives.

Personally identifiable information (PII) and intellectual property (IP) are now tied as the data categories with the highest potential impact to 43% of respondents. Notably, PII is of greater concern in Europe (49%), most likely due to the recent enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In Asia-Pacific countries, intellectual property theft is of greater concern (51%) than PII.

52% of respondents claimed that IT is at fault for creating the most data leakage events. Business operations (29%) follow as the next most likely to be involved.

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