Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is your firm leaking sensitive information?

A recent survey of 600 office workers in Canary Wharf London and Wall Street NY revealed that 41% of workers who have switched jobs took sensitive data with them. And a third would “pass on company information if it proved useful in getting friends or family a job.”

The report, “The Global Recession and its Effect on Work Ethics,” notes that surveyed organizations may be getting lax about security:
  • “… it would seem employers have only themselves to blame as they appear pretty lackadaisical when it comes to protecting their data from their employees with 57% of respondents stating that it’s become a lot easier to take sensitive information from under their bosses noses this year, up from 29% last year.”
Another study published this week suggests that workers are actually acting more ethically since the economy turned. As reported by The National Law Journal, a study by the nonprofit Ethics Resource Center suggests that workers are observing less misconduct and reporting it more when they see it.

Of course, there may be a difference between what people actually are seeing and reporting vs. real-world activity. Regardless, firms are taking steps to prevent data leakage and unauthorized movement of firm and client information.

These surveys don’t focus specifically on law firms. But even the legal industry is concerned about the issue. At this article from the Law Technology Journal notes: “Law Firms Up Employee Surveillance as Redundancy Figures Grow.” It quotes the IT Director of Allen & Overy who voices an opinion shared by many:
  • “Most law firm employees are bound by a professional conduct code but we would be careless if we weren’t being a bit more vigilant.”
The IT Director at another 600-lawyer firm notes:
  • “Clients want to do extra audits and are asking more questions about our capability and redoubling their questions.”
To learn more about steps law firms are taking to combat these risks, see the white paper: “Is Your Firm Leaking? Why Data Leakage Can Happen Now More Than Ever.”

It explores how technology has made it easier than ever for attorneys and staff to remove large quantities of firm and client information undetected, and steps organizations can take to address the problem.

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