A new study by Tessian and the Ponemon Institute highlighted the growing threat of deliberate and accidental data loss to most organizations. The research indicates that nearly 60% of organizations have experienced data loss or exfiltration from an employee mistake on email over the last 12 months. Email is the riskiest channel for data loss, accounting for 65% of data losses. Cloud sharing and instant messaging platforms accounted for 62% and 57% of data loss incidents, respectively.

The report noted that employee negligence and disregard for their companies’ data handling policies were the leading cause of intentional and accidental data loss. The consequences of such data loss are profound, with most respondents identifying non-compliance with data protection regulations (57%) and reputational damage (52%) as the main consequences of deliberate and accidental data loss.

The lack of visibility into the data organizations intend to protect was the leading cause of deliberate or accidental data loss. A lack of visibility of sensitive data that employees transferred from the network to personal email was cited as the most common barrier (54%) to preventing data loss. Additionally, more than half (52%) of the security practitioners could not identify legitimate data loss incidents or employee data handling behaviors.

To address this issue, organizations must be proactive in delivering effective data loss prevention training while gaining greater visibility into how employees handle company data. However, the study found that only half of the security practitioners said their organizations had programs to address the confidentiality and sensitivity of data that employees could access via email.

Deliberate and accidental data loss is a serious threat to most organizations, and it is essential to prioritize the issue of data loss prevention. By providing effective data loss prevention training and adopting an email backup plan, organizations can mitigate the risks posed by internal data handling and protect sensitive data from deliberate or accidental loss.