Last year stands as the worst for reported data loss incidents, and researchers with KPMG have warned that the trend is set to increase through 2009.
Almost 200 million people could be affected by data loss this coming year, as the corporate spending freeze and staff layoffs make organisations potentially more vulnerable to the risk of data loss and their consequences.
KPMG’s Data Loss Barometer predicts that the number of people affected by data loss around the world could soar to 190 million in 2009, compared to 92 million in the previous year.
The organisations that will be most severely affected are those who share most data with external providers and other third parties, Malcolm Marshall of KPMG noted.
The research has been conducted for the last three years and is based on publicly disclosed data loss incidents that were documented among many others by the Open Security Foundation, the Identity Theft Centre and the Information Commissioners Office.
The incidents are worldwide but predominantly originate in the UK and the US where legislation exists to ensure that data loss incidents are fully disclosed.
During the three years the firm has run the research it has collated evidence of around 1,300 reported incidents worldwide of data loss, which it estimates has impacted on over 350 million people in some way.
The auditors caution that portable media is highly vulnerable and hackers are a persistent danger and rightly recommend that effective incident responses and internal controls are vital to further prevent the exposure to accidental or malicious data loss.