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Corporate data theft: pandemic or scare story?

Graham Titterington | Nov. 30, 2009
A survey reveals a widespread acceptance of the practice of stealing corporate data when leaving a company. How should we react to these results?

Focusing on the labour market, employers that expect new employees to come with a mass of information will not be concerned if that information is stolen from their previous employer. Leaving aside humanitarian considerations, if a miraculous leap forward in technology enabled organisations to eliminate information leakage, many employers would be unable to fill their vacancies without a change in their recruitment criteria.

A pragmatic code of conduct is needed

The enterprise community comprises millions of organisations, each of which is acting in its own interests. However, the total of these individual actions does not maximise the benefit to the entire community.

Enterprises must act to improve their data protection to meet the requirements of their stakeholders and their regulators. They must try to eliminate information theft that leads to extortion by unscrupulous employees and hands advantage to their competitors. At the same time they should adopt an ethical approach to business that refuses to participate in any markets for stolen and unethical goods, including stolen information. They also need an approach that recognises the needs of leavers, particularly in the case of redundancy. 

Graham Titterington is a principal analyst at Ovum, specialising in IT security and business continuity.


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