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File folders at a Wal Mart in August 2017. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The security firm Varonis found that 41% of large companies on which it performed data audits gave all employees access to at least a thousand sensitive files.

Why it matters: Giving employees too much access to sensitive files risks problems with insider threats and increases the likelihood hackers are able to access vital information.

If you start from the assumption there's no guaranteed way to prevent hackers from breaking into your network, limiting access to files a no brainer.
— John Carlin, a former assistant attorney general focused on national security and current chair of Morrison & Foerster’s global risk and crisis management practice

Other results of the study:

  • 58% of companies let all employees access at least 100,000 folders.
  • 21% of all folders are accessible by all employees.
  • 34% of user accounts in corporate servers are "stale but enabled," meaning that no employee uses the accounts, but the accounts still have access to data.
  • 65% of companies have users with passwords that never expire.

Yes, but: Clients seeking data audits are a self selecting group. While 65 percent of companies Varonis audited have at least 500 users with passwords that never expire, only one in 10 businesses have more than 20 employees. You do the math.

  • Still, the data is in keeping with what Carlin has seen in both the public and private sector: "By default, too many firms leave a majority of folders open to everyone."

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in United Kingdom

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Pity the "green" car buyer

Expand chart
Data: IHS Markit Data; Note: Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Americans are more open than ever to trading in their gas cars for electrified vehicles — but they're flummoxed by the confusing array of green options arriving in showrooms.

Why it matters: Getting up to speed on the differences among hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will be a challenge for car buyers — and salespeople, too — as we transition away from gas-powered vehicles over the next decade.