Meet the user most likely to cause a data breach


You’ve seen him walking the halls. You may have had pleasant conversations with him. By all accounts, he’s a great guy.

He’s also a data breach waiting to happen. 

Clearswift, a cybersecurity company, recently surveyed IT decision-makers and employees to find out who they thought were the most likely data breach culprits.

Using their findings, you can put together a sketch of the most-likely offender. Based on survey responses, your data breach culprit is probably …

A 35-44-year-old male middle-manager in Finance who works out of the office full-time.

If anyone at your company matches this description, revoke his credentials immediately and call the police.

Some perspective

All kidding aside, this research does provide insight into how, when you consider all the factors, there’s no one culprit of a data breach.

For instance, while 69% of respondents indicated that an on-site employee was more likely to cause a breach than an off-site employee, most workers aren’t remote. And while half (46%) said Finance was the most likely culprit, many (39%) also said the same of HR pros.

There were some surprises, however. For instance, only 16% of respondents said executives were most likely to cause breaches. It’s usually assumed that those with the most access to the most crucial data will be targeted most. However, it’s also possible these executives are also most in-tune with the dangers are therefore more cautious (or at least protected more closely).

Don’t look for likely offenders

There’s a real danger in talking about the most likely culprit, however. Data breaches can happen at any level from any source.

Besides, monitoring one user or group of users more closely than others is an invitation for a lawsuit.

Ultimately, it’s a good reminder: Users in general are good people who want to protect data. Provide them the resources and training to do so, and you’ll be on the right track.

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