What IT Pros Fear Most After a Data Breach

Data leaks are increasingly common and potentially perilous, threatening businesses of all sizes. There are various unfortunate consequences that can be unleashed by a breach in an organization’s data networks, including lost revenue and a damaged reputation for the company, as well as adverse effects for employee productivity and PC performance. In most cases, the brunt of mitigating a data leak and repairing systems falls to IT professionals. Whether or not the IT employee had an even indirect hand in the information breach, they’re likely to suffer the consequences of trying to rehabilitate the compromised infrastructure. This reality can result in many different instances of potential fallout for IT pros.

A recent survey by tech research firm Stollznow sought to find out what data breach consequences cause the most anxiety in IT personnel. After speaking with 207 IT decision makers, they found that the foremost concern in the aftermath of a data breach were complications associated with having “fix the mess.” Sixty-one percent of their respondents identified it as the top source of anxiety. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that bad media coverage and potential hits to their organization’s reputation were a chief source of apprehension, while 52 percent stated that they were worried by financial fees or fines associated with leak.

Business continuity remains chief concern

Lest the survey results make it appear as though IT professionals were primarily concerned with their own livelihood, just 34 percent said that they worried about losing their jobs as a result of a leak. The results indicate that workload associated with getting the organization back to business as usual often influenced IT pros’ attitudes. Only 49 percent said that lost customers was a significant source of anxiety, however.

“Their personal concern is more about, ‘Gee, I’ve got to do some work,’” stated Quantitative Director Neil Stollznow, according to ZDNet.

The responses of business officials showed that their chief concerns differed from those of IT pros in some respects. They were most concerned with the negative impact on their reputation, as 60 percent stated that it was their foremost worry. Fifty-seven percent reported concern over financial losses and 54 percent worried about their competitors accessing their confidential information. Only 45 percent worried about the added pressure on employees to repair the leak. SmartCompany contributor Paul Wallbank wrote that the survey results illustrate the need for comprehensive security and privacy solutions at an organization-wide level.

“It may be true that many CIOs and IT managers aren’t too worried about the business effects of a data breach or system outage, which shows that security – both physical and digital – are the job of everyone in an organization, not just one department or executive,” he wrote.

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What IT Pros Fear Most After a Data Breach