More than one-third of staff would sell their company’s valuable intellectual property for between £1,000 and £10,000. And an especially shameless – and cheap – one per cent would sell it to persons unknown for just £100.
That is the conclusion of a survey of employees by security software and services vendor Clearswift.
It found that 35 per cent of employees would be prepared to sell company information for “the right price”. And, of those, three per cent would consider selling out their organisation for just £100. Eighteen per cent, meanwhile, would flog the information for £1,000 and 29 per cent for a £10,000.
And, yet, according to the survey, more than 40 per cent of the respondents admitted that they have access to sensitive corporate data, while 35 per cent can access sensitive information that is, in theory, above their pay grade.
The survey also reveals a lackadaisical attitude to data and information security, with 10 per cent of respondents admitting that they had lost or mislaid a company device containing sensitive company data.
The research was carried out among some 4,000 employees split evenly across the UK, US, Australia and Germany.
“IP comes in many guises and it’s essential for organisations to recognise ‘what’ their IP is; where it exists and who has access to it. IP is often a company’s most prized possession, if it were to fall into a competitor’s hands, or even unauthorised hands, it could cause immense financial damage to a company,” said Clearswift CEO Heath Davies.
At the same time, though, the survey indicated that employees don’t think that their organisations value company data highly enough either, with 72 per cent of IT staff surveyed believing that their company could do more to educate ordinary staff about data security.
“Most employees are not acting maliciously, but their carelessness can be just as damaging,” added Davies. “Companies need to wake up to the fact that employees have the potential to cause the company huge damage through their actions, and ensure that training, policies and technology are in place to minimize that risk.”
In 2012, consumer electronics company Dyson sued German rival Bosch, claiming that it had engaged in industrial espionage in order to find out the designs of Dyson’s motors.