A study released Monday found only 36% of surveyed IT practitioners from large companies are able to control how confidential data is shared with third parties.
The study of more than 600 IT professionals also found that companies are rarely able to track where their most sensitive documents go.
Only 27% of the those surveyed were able to restrict the sharing of confidential data between employees.
According to the survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of Fasoo, 58% of companies say their employees use free online file sharing applications, and almost half say their employees, on occasion, keep confidential documents on their home computers or personal mobile devices. In addition, 68% of those surveyed say they don't even know where their company’s confidential information is located.
"A lot of people don't realize how much intellectual property or trade secrets is floating around the organization," Ron Arden, COO at data security vendor Fasoo told CSO.
The study also revealed a deficiency in employee education about protecting data. Of the respondents, 56% said their companies did not educate their employees about protecting confidential information.
The study found that careless employees were the primary cause of company data losses 56% of the time. The second most common cause was lost or stolen devices.
In March, a SailPoint survey revealed that more than a quarter of employees said they uploaded sensitive information to cloud apps intending to share the information outside the company. According to Gartner, more than 70% of unauthorized access to data is committed by an organization's own employees.
Employees are frequently the cause of many security weaknesses in the enterprise. Most of these insider threats actually carry no malicious intent, but instead are the result of weak access controls and a lack of employee awareness.