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A new survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute revealed a growing risk posed by corporations as employees report a lack of control over file access and use of company data.

The survey of nearly 2,300 employees in US- and European-based organizations – including end users working in sales, finance, accounting, business operations and corporate IT – found that 71 percent of employees say they are granted excessive access to company data they should not be able to see.

Additionally, more than half of those respondents added this access was seen frequently or very frequently.

“This research surfaces an important factor that is often overlooked, said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and co-founder of The Ponemon Institute.

“Employees commonly have too much access to data, beyond what they need to do their jobs, and when that access is not tracked or audited, an attack that gains access to employee accounts can have devastating consequences.”

Other significant findings also showed that only one in five (20 percent) of IT practitioners admit to their organization not enforcing a strict least-privilege data model. In a given incident that data, such as files or emails, are lost, 22 percent of employees noted their organization is able to determine what happened to the information.

Meanwhile, IT practitioners believe end users are likely to put critical data at risk, although less than half of respondents believed their company takes the necessary actions to ensure confidential data is secure.

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