The Biggest Threats to Data Security in Europe

published on Cybersecurity, Legal Risk Management, Legal Technology

It might be stating the obvious, but the number of businesses that have been the victim of a cyberattack is on the rise. While the terms “data breach” and “cyberattack” are frequently heard in the media, this year they seem to have become buzzwords. The European edition of the 2015Vormetric Insider Threat Report examines the reasons why so many organizations suffer a data breach, and the threats that organizations continue to face on a daily basis. The report is based on an online survey among 818 IT decision-makers in leading global markets. The main focus lies on the German and U.K. market, because both are primary targets for data theft and many organizations within both countries have suffered high-profile data breaches. Here are some of the main findings.

Very few organizations feel safe from insider attacks.

13% of the respondents said that their organizations were not at all vulnerable from insider threats. This figure is close to the global average of 11%. On a similar note, a recent study by the European Center for Media, Data and Society revealed that when comparing the number of compromised records per 100 people caused by data breaches, the U.K. has the highest number at 220. Germany by contrast, had a ratio of 68 per 100 people. The country where people ought to feel the least at risk of a data breach is The Netherlands, because of its ratio of 23.


Cloud usage is growing, but the majority of sensitive company information remains on-premise.

The top three locations by volume, where company-sensitive data is stored by European organizations and must be protected are databases (49%), file servers (39%) and the cloud (36%). Based on the survey results, U.K. organizations hold as much company-sensitive data in the cloud as they do in databases on-premise. In contrast, German organizations tend to show resistance to change, and are considerably more likely to store data in on-premise databases. One reason why German organizations may hesitate to store their data in the cloud is that they identify it as having the greatest risk to company-sensitive data.


Germany and U.K. organizations are increasing their spending on data privacy.

German organizations are more conservative than those of the U.K. and the U.S., with a higher percentage of German IT decision-makers reporting that their organizations (47%) are spending the same as last year. One reason why the German and U.K. markets are primary targets for data theft is because of the quality, value, and amount of data available. Both markets will allocate most of their security budget to network defenses.



Overall, Germany takes a much more conservative attitude towards risk management, due to its lower-than-average use of mobile apps and aversion to follow the latest trends in cloud computing and big data. In contrast, IT decision-makers in the U.K. act like they are fighting a fire on the frontlines. While European IT decision-makers are correct to increase their spending on data security, what they should focus on in the future is more targeted spending on monitoring and protection tools that can improve the security of key areas of risk.

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