November 17, 2010 – The majority of organizations remain highly susceptible to data breaches, according to new survey results. Information management services provider Kroll Ontrack found less than half of businesses regularly deploy a method of erasing sensitive data from old computers and hard drives.

Jeff Pederson, manager of data recovery operations, Kroll Ontrack, says although there may be security policies in place, the actual completion of that policy doesn’t necessarily trickle down through the organization. “They aren’t following through to make sure the drives leaving their facilities do not have company private or client information on them,” says Pederson.

A survey of more than 1,500 participants from 12 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific regarding their data wiping practices revealed that more than 60 percent of all old business computers are fully intact with proprietary business data in the secondhand market. Three-fourths of businesses are delete files, reformat or destroy drives, or “do not know” how they erase sensitive data.

Of the 49 percent of businesses that are systematically deploying a data eraser method, 75 percent do not delete data securely, leaving most organizations highly susceptible to data breaches. Data breaches plague businesses at least once a year, according to the 2010 Kroll Ontrack Annual ESI Trends Survey, and cost an organization an average of $6.75 million per breach, according to the 2009 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study.

Read more about recent data security research here.

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