Digital Transformation

Financial services firms ‘could face data breaches because of spreadsheets’

Spreadsheets could pose big problems for businesses.

Many businesses still rely on spreadsheets to help them control their finances and to record all kinds of other information crucial to their day-to-day operations.

However, financial services companies may not be taking enough care to ensure they cannot be accessed by hackers, a new survey has suggested.

Research carried out by ClusterSeven asked more than 250 workers in the UK financial services industry and found that more than nine out of ten use spreadsheets as much or more than any other financial application in managing financial data, Info Security magazine reports.

One in five revealed that these spreadsheets handle values of as much as £1 billion.

However, more than half of the respondents admitted that they either do not operate usage controls or have only poorly monitored policies in place when it comes to accessing these documents.

This means it could only take an ex-employee with a grudge or a casual comment to leave financial services organisations vulnerable to devastating losses.

Indeed, one in seven firms surveyed said they have suffered a significant data breach at some point.

IT expert Ralph Barker told the magazine that businesses still rely on spreadsheets because they are easy to use and almost everyone knows how to operate them. However, he suggested that this is like using cars when good public transport is available, as there are many different options available to companies these days.

Mr Barker also pointed out spreadsheets could present a problem when it comes to the ‘bring your own device’ trend, as financial services workers often take documents and laptops home to avoid falling behind. This could make them vulnerable to hackers.

It comes after Sony VAIO warned that lost laptops present a ticking timebomb of data loss, as many do not have data protection installed as standard for when employees take them home.

Dajon Data Management may be able to help by keeping documents such as spreadsheets in a safe cloud rather than on employees’ individual laptops. A range of paper documents can also be scanned in for retention and easy access yet also security.