Men more likely to steal company data

Survey claims it's John not Joan whose emails you should be watching...

Survey claims it's John not Joan whose emails you should be watching...

Men are five times more likely then women to be leaking important data or intellectual property out of their company, according to the findings of a UK survey - whether they are doing so intentionally or not.

Research from content-filtering specialist Clearswift claims that five per cent of male employees have admitted to deliberately emailing such sensitive information outside of the organisation, compared to only one per cent of women.

This may not equate to malicious theft in all, or even many, cases but such practices certainly increase the likelihood of leaks occurring and companies need to be far stricter in controlling what data passes out of their organisation, claims Clearswift CEO Jon Lee.

Whether an employee thinks they are helping their bosses by emailing data home or taking it unsecured offsite, or whether they are acting maliciously for the benefit of a rival company, the effect can be the same.

These findings add to a worrying patchwork of lax data practices in the UK which mean staff are often unclear about what they can and cannot do.

Clearswift's Lee said: "This statistic is particularly concerning. There's a blatant disregard for the very information which gives employers competitive advantage.

"Five per cent might not sound like a lot but imagine how large that figure could be when you look at the entire working population.

"Companies must ensure they have clearly communicated email usage policies in place and deploy robust email filtering software to enforce them and to monitor the huge amount of emails entering and leaving the organisation."

This news follows claims yesterday that women are more likely to bring removable storage media such as digital cameras or iPods into the office. This represents yet another way that data can be taken outside the four walls of the organisation - up to 60GB at a time, and growing fast, given the huge increases in storage capacity of many portable devices.