Down Economy Did Not Create Data Thieves

August 17, 2010 ( – Once an IT crook, always an IT crook.

When it comes to stealing an employer’s sensitive computerized information, a new SailPoint survey found that financial pressures from the economic downturn did not push co-workers into a life of electronic crime. Some 45% of the U.S. and 48% of the U.K. poll respondents felt that a coworker’s tendency to pilfer data from an employer has not been influenced by the recession.

A SailPoint news release said 49% of U.S. workers and 52% of British workers admitted they would take some form of company property with them when leaving a position. Of those, 29% (U.S.) and 23% (U.K.) would leave with customer data, including contact information; 23% (U.S.) and 22% (U.K.) would walk off with electronic files; 15% (U.S.) and 17% (U.K.) would depart with product information, including designs and plans; and 13% (U.S.) and 22% (U.K.) would take small office supplies.

The poll also asked workers what they would do if they were inadvertently granted access to a confidential file (such as one containing salary information, personal data, or plans for a pending merger). Forty-five percent of U.S. and 57% of U.K. respondents said they would look at the file, while 36% (U.S.) and 27% (U.K.) said they would not look but would alert a manager to the mistake.

Very few workers (1% in the U.K. and less than 0.5% in the U.S.) stated that they would attempt to sell confidential data found in improperly secured files, although 2% (U.S.) and 3% (U.K.) said they would look and tell others about the information they saw.

SailPoint’s Market Pulse Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 3,517 adults (2,542 age 18+ in the United States from June 24 – 28, 2010, and 1,065 age 16-64 in Great Britain from June 29 – July 5, 2010). Among these, 1,594 employees had access to their employer’s/client’s IT systems.

SailPoint is an Austin, Texas-based computer security firm.