The research – commissioned by Secure: the European Association for Visual Data Security - highlights the fact that despite spending nearly £40 billion a year on protecting data from hackers and other cyber threats, organisations are overlooking the Achilles heel of visual data security and are leaving individuals’ personal data vulnerable.
The poll supports research carried out for Secure’s recently released White Paper on Visual Data Security – which details the very real threat posed by a visual data security breach.
The White Paper revealed that whilst 90% of IT Security professionals were aware of the threat posed by a visual data security breach, 82% had little or no confidence that their organisation’s employees take steps to protect their data from being viewed whilst working in a public environment.
It illustrates how, with the rapid rise of mobile working, the risk to an organisation of a visual data security breach is growing exponentially. The issue has been compounded by the increasing use of digital camera phones which enable unauthorised individuals to capture sensitive information.
Information Security expert Brian Honan, author of the Secure White Paper, commented, “with the frequency and innovative nature of data attacks rising, organisations must ensure that the defences they have in place protect against all potential data breaches and not just some. All organisations have an obligation to both their employees and customers to be as secure as they possibly can be ”.
The severity of the threat has been recognised by the Government, which has revealed in response to Parliamentary Questions, that it already employs a range of measures to prevent a visual data security breach. Departments such as the HM Treasury already ensure that “all new staff are made aware of the importance of visual data security in their induction training”.
· · Danny Chapchal, Chairman and CEO of Secure member TSSI commented: “In recent years we’ve all read plenty in the press about the threat from Cyber crime, but the fact is that physical security is also still a major issue. While it is very sensible to password protect and encrypt sensitive data online, this has limited value if employees fail to protect that data from prying eyes in public spaces. Just as authentication is vital to ensuring the integrity of physical information in the workplace, smart, enforceable policies need to be in place to ensure employees carry this into the outside world.”
The Data Protection Act obliges companies to take all appropriate steps to protect personal data – including measures to guard against a visual data security breach. There are organisations in the private sector who are already leading best practice in visual data security - Barclays for example utilises computer privacy panels (which restrict the field of view to the person directly in front of the computer) in branch to prevent against unauthorised access to confidential, personal data.
As part of its work to raise awareness of the threat posed by visual data security breaches and the simple behavioural and practical steps that can be taken to prevent them, Secure is engaging with companies who have a mobile work force – as well as transport and public space operators – to ensure that employees, customers and passengers alike are made aware of the growing risk to their and their companies’ sensitive data.