IT pros' most feared breach consequence is workload

In the event of a data breach, more IT professionals are concerned with having to do more work rather than the fact that the company may lose customers, or even that they might get fired.

IT professionals are less concerned with losing their jobs or their company customers than the amount of work it will take to recover from a data breach, according to a study undertaken by Stollznow for Imation.

According to results from a survey taken in April and May, the top concern that IT professionals had when their organisation experienced a data breach was the headache associated with having to "fix the mess". About 61 percent of respondents rated it as the top concern, followed shortly after by bad media coverage (57 percent), and financial fees or fines (52 percent).

However, less than half of respondents (49 percent) cared about the business losing customers, and fewer still (34 percent) were even concerned that they might lose their jobs over the breach.

"Their personal concern is more about, 'Gee, I've got to do some work!'" said Stollznow quantitative director Neil Stollznow.

Imation general manager for Asia-Pacific Sven Radavics suggested that the result could have cultural influence, but that in any case, it should be expected, considering that personal information is often not looked after.

"Is that a reflection of Australian culture? I think people at work are motivated for all sorts of different personal reasons. I was a little surprised, but then again, I know my personal data is mistreated a lot and I'm very careful with my data," he said.

"It absolutely worries me. I look forward to data breach notification [and] I think that's just going to raise the awareness of everybody."

When respondents were asked about corporate concerns of a breach, the results showed a different picture.

Businesses themselves were most concerned with the negative reputation impacts, with the majority (60 percent) rating it as their biggest concern, followed shortly by the monetary costs (57 percent) and the exposure of intellectual property to its competitors (54 percent). Concerns over the additional work required to fix the problem were significantly lower, at 45 percent.

Radavics' scepticism for how protected company and personal data is also appears to be shared among Australian IT professionals in general. Compared to the rest of the world, Australians are less confident that their data is actually protected from loss or theft.

In the office, 73 percent of IT professionals from overseas were extremely confident or very confident that their data was safe. This figure was only 38 percent when Aussies were asked. Similarly, at home or on the road, only about a quarter of all respondents felt their data was safe. Overseas, 55 percent of IT professionals thought their data was safe in their homes, and 47 percent thought is was safe when carried with them on the road.