A Hummingbird/YouGov survey of 1,385 UK employees shows that theft of company information is a widespread problem, with 29% of directors admitting to stealing confidential information when they left for a new job.
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Company training manuals are the most popular item in the executive swag bag, followed by procedure manuals, financial information and client reports.
More worryingly still, 10% of respondents working in government and military sectors have sent documents to unauthorised recipients.
Women are less likely to walk off with the crown jewels: 37% say they’d never pilfer unauthorised information, compared with a quarter of their male colleagues.
Memory sticks and digital music players are making it so easy to remove data that it’s proving hard to keep information nailed down. Preventative measures such as gardening leave, where execs serve out their notice periods at home, aren’t seen as a strong enough defence.
Businesses must put both electronic and physical content or data security measures in place, believes Donal Casey, security consultant at integration company Morse.
“Firstly, [businesses] should make sure that only those that need to be able to access confidential data are able to.
“Secondly, they should ensure there are audit trails in place so that if data is stolen or leaked you can trace back to the source of the leak,” says Casey.