There has been a huge increase in the number of data thefts taking place.
New data from KPMG has shown that the number of incidents in which companies have had their important data hacked has rocketed in the past two years.
The Data Loss Barometer showed that 160 million people have been affected by external data leaks during 2012, an increase of 40 per cent. Hacking accounted for 67 per cent of the data lost.
However, the real figure could be much higher than this, as KPMG’s Malcolm Marshall pointed out that many cases involving the theft of commercial data go unreported as firms get on with disaster recovery.
Businesses could be losing a significant amount of money because of a failure of data protection, as hacking of information held by them jumped to 52 per cent of total incidents in 2012, up from just eight per cent in 2010.
"What we are witnessing is a shift from the accidental loss of data to deliberate theft – either to steal or re-sell that data or sometimes simply for sport or to make a great headline," said Mr Marshall.
"Several of the world’s largest companies have been targeted over recent months by hackers who have grown in sophistication. It is now not just a lone hacker sitting in their bedroom," he added.
Indeed, there have been several large incidents over the past few months that have hit the headlines all over the globe. LinkedIn had a huge volume of password information stolen, while World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo creator Blizzard recently said account details for a large proportion of its users had been taken.
Human carelessness accounted for only four per cent of data loss this year, suggesting companies need to actively protect the information they hold from attacks.
"It’s a situation that cannot be allowed to continue because, left unchecked, it will quickly get out of control," Mr Marshall warned.
Outsourcing services such as document management and storage to a third-party can really help to increase security – firms such as Dajon specialise in keeping your data secure, leaving your IT staff free to do their jobs.