CDW Data Loss Straw Poll

One in four organizations has experienced a data loss in the last two years. Many report breaches jeopardizing their email, network or other sensitive information.

No organization appears to be immune – blue-chip companies, small businesses, schools and governments have all been affected. And, as telework and access to mobile computing grows, preventing data loss is becoming an increasingly complex endeavor.

CDW’s Data Loss Straw Poll surveyed 654 IT professionals from business, financial services, healthcare and higher education about data loss and what’s still keeping them up at night.

Click to Tweet: #CDW: The cure for IT pros’ insomnia is layered security and standard policy, survey finds. @CDWNews

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Key Findings

  • IT professionals say data loss is their #1 cybersecurity threat, with 50% reporting that personally identifiable information is at greatest risk
  • Just 35% of organizations believe they earn an “A” grade for data security
  • In the last two years, the number of people accessing organizational networks has increased by an average of 41%
  • While two-thirds of organizations allow employee-owned devices to access the network, in most cases, security policies are less strict than policies for employer-owned devices – or do not exist

Loss of Sensitive Data: A Nightmare

  • IT professionals say personally identifiable data is the #1 target of cyber attacks

“A” Security Provides Much-Needed ZZZs

  • Organizations with top data security programs layer nearly all available data loss prevention measures; others pick and choose

Insomnia Cure: Standard Security Policies

  • Two-thirds of organizations say employee-owned devices access their networks, but fewer have adequate security policies

How to Catch Some Shut-Eye

IT professionals who grade their data security an “A” share their secrets for successful data loss prevention:

  • “Make sure you cover all avenues. Don’t discount employees doing harmful things like bringing in a wireless router and plugging it into the network as an access point and hiding it under their desk. Do frequent scans.”
  • “Limit who has access to sensitive information. Safely purge old or outdated sensitive information. Have an incident response plan in case a breach occurs.”
  • “User education, user education, user education … 90% of all issues come from (and can be prevented by) your user base.”
  • “Never rest. Always strive to improve security protocols.”


CDW surveyed* 654 IT professionals from enterprise organizations about data loss prevention practices in January and February 2012. The total sample size equates to a margin of error of ±3.8% at a 95% confidence level.

*Research conducted by O’Keeffe & Company