Published: November 24th, 2016

Malware isn’t the only security risk to businesses, as employees are the top cause of costly security breaches according to a report by global cybersecurity company, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky’s Business Perception of IT Security: In the Face of an Inevitable Compromise report shows that the top cause of most costly breaches is not in fact malware, but the employees of the company affected. One in four companies report that this is the case, with malware following behind closely at 22 per cent.

This report comes a time where North American data breaches are the norm. Almost half of businesses, 44 per cent, in North America suffered four or more data breaches in the past year, more than double the amount than businesses worldwide at 20 per cent.

59 per cent of those companies reporting data breaches say that careless or uninformed employees have been the reason for the most serious data breaches. Hackers are finding success attacking companies through malware, but the report shows that the easiest way into a company’s data is through their employees.

“The survey results indicate the need for a different view on the growing complexity of cyber threats,” said Veniamin Levtsov, vice president, enterprise business at Kaspersky Lab in a statement. “The key point here is that threats are not necessarily getting more sophisticated. It’s the growing attack surface that requires more diverse set of protection methods. This makes matters even more complicated for IT security departments.

The increase of smartphones in the business is a major reason for these findings. Half of businesses in North America report that they are least protected against mobile security threats.

Examples of mobile security threats include inappropriate usage or sharing data through mobile devices.

The report warns that these mobile security problems can’t just be solved with stronger security technology. Instead, business leaders need to educate their employees in order to bring about higher awareness to the risks involved.

The Business Perception of IT Security: In the Face of an Inevitable Compromise report surveyed 4,000 businesses from 25 countries, and asked about their perceptions of the main security threats they face and the measures used to combat them. The exact split between North American companies and others is unavailable.