Sales staff cause biggest security headache

Research indicates that in terms of security breaches, sales staff pose the biggest risk to businesses

Junior sales staff are causing more security breaches than any other type of employee.

But young technical males engaged in middle management are likely to be a security professional's dream employee.

The statistics were borne out by research from email security vendor MessageLabs, which calculated the number of security breaches caused by each type of employee in a range of UK and US businesses.

"These days sales are pounding the cyber-highway using email, IM, web browsers and mobile devices," Mark Sunner, MessageLabs' chief technology officer, told ZDNet UK. "With the pressure to close deals, the last thing on their minds is security consciousness. The problem facing business is that if these people are culprits, they are also the biggest revenue generators."

Sunner added: "Technology middle managers are abreast of [security issues] — they're naturally paranoid and sceptical of stuff that's going on. You're aware that 75 percent of all email is spam, and 1 in 140 emails contain malware. If you're not in that side of things, you're not aware, and you're not going to care because it's not part of your job to."