Study: Electronic Theft Costs More Than Physical Theft

In a recently published study conducted by security firm Kroll, findings showed electronic and information theft are at 27.3 percent of total fraud losses while physical theft at 27.2 percent.  Although this is statistically a dead heat, the fact that it is even close is significant for all companies looking to curtail fraud costs.  Interestingly, China had the highest level of fraud, with 98 percent of businesses affected, and Colombia and Brazil came in next, with 94 percent and 90 percent respectively.  

According to Kroll, “information-based industries reported the highest incidence of theft of information and electronic data over the past 12 months. These include financial services (42% in 2010 versus 24% in 2009), professional services (40% in 2010 versus 27% in 2009) and technology, media and telecoms (37% in 2010 versus 29% in 2009).”

There are two common sense takeaways from this recent study — devote the right resources (including training) to avoid electronic theft and fraud and ensure the right security and vetting processes are in place when doing business in emerging markets, especially if your firm holds a good deal of sensitive data.  Although both suggestions may seem obvious it often takes the cumulative impact of these surveys and anecdotal evidence to really push the risk management needle.