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2024 Data Exposure Report: Companies at Risk of Data Loss Driven by Changing Workforce, AI Usage, and Source Code Exfiltration

Minneapolis, MN —

Code42 Software, Inc., the leader in data loss and insider threat protection, today released its annual Data Exposure Report (DER) for 2024, examining the intricacies of insider threats facing organizations today. The study found that data loss from insiders poses increased threats to security, further exacerbated by the introduction of AI and generative AI (GenAI) technology. 

Since 2021, there has been a 28% average increase in monthly insider-driven data exposure, loss, leak, and theft events. The majority of respondents (85%) expect this trend to continue over the next 12 months. While most companies (99%) have data protection solutions in place, 78% of cybersecurity leaders admit they’ve still had sensitive data breached, leaked, or exposed. As today’s risks are increasingly driven by AI and GenAI, the way employees work, and the proliferation of cloud applications, respondents state they need more visibility into source code sent to repositories (88%), files sent to personal cloud accounts (87%), and customer relationship management (CRM) system data downloads (90%).

“Today, data is highly portable. While AI and cloud technologies are igniting new business ventures that allow employees to connect, create, and collaborate, they also make it easier to leak critical corporate data like source code and IP,” said Joe Payne, President and CEO of Code42. “This year, the research highlights the new challenges posed by AI as data sets are being pushed outside of organizations to train LLMs. We also see that source code is now considered the most important data to protect, other than financial information and research data. This is a critical finding, as most data protection tools are incapable of spotting the most common source code exfiltration techniques."    

The cybersecurity skills gap creates a black hole for IP loss and compliance 

Over three-fourths surveyed (79%) believe their cybersecurity team has a shortage of skilled workers, leading cybersecurity leaders to turn to AI (83%) and GenAI (92%) technology to fill the talent gap; but these aren’t a 1:1 replacement, and the report also cautions against the possible data loss risks of these tools.

The study also found: 

  • Two-thirds of cybersecurity leaders (68%) state that data regulations are unclear, while even more (73%) are not fully confident their company is complying with new data protection laws
  • The vast majority (98%) believe their data security training requires improvement, with almost half of respondents (44%) believing it requires a complete overhaul

AI and GenAI are creating unique risks to data security

The vast majority (85%) of cybersecurity leaders agree that their company’s sensitive data is increasingly vulnerable to new AI technologies.

The study also found: 

  • 87% are concerned their employees may inadvertently expose sensitive data to competitors by inputting it into GenAI
  • 87% are concerned their employees are not following their GenAI policy

Employee age and role are creating unique risks to data security

Risks can vary by employee age and role, with companies more concerned about data security breaches from Generation Z and Millennials falling victim to phishing attacks (61%), oversharing company information online (60%), sending company files/data to personal accounts/devices (62%), and putting sensitive data into GenAI tools (58%).

Respondents also believe senior management (81%) and board members (71%) pose the greatest risk to their company’s data security, likely due to having wide-reaching access to the most sensitive data. 

Insider data loss drains time, money, and security teams

Insider-driven data exposure, loss, leak, and theft events can have vast financial repercussions, with cybersecurity leaders estimating that a single event would cost their company $15 million, on average. 

The study also found: 

  • Respondents spend an average of 3 hours per day investigating insider-driven data events 
  • 72% of cybersecurity leaders are worried they could lose their job from an unaddressed insider breach
  • To be effective, companies believe that data protection solutions should offer speed and ease of investigation (42%), visibility into file contents and metadata (39%), and should be able to integrate with other tech solutions (38%)


Code42 commissioned the independent market research agency Vanson Bourne to conduct the Data Exposure Research. The 2024 study surveyed 700 respondents (300 cybersecurity practitioners, 200 cybersecurity managers, and 200 cybersecurity leaders) from companies in the US from December 2023 to January 2024. These companies had 500 or more employees and were from a range of public and private sectors, including automotive and aerospace/manufacturing, business and professional services, energy, oil/gas and utilities, technology, and pharmaceutical and life sciences/biotechnology, among other sectors.

All interviews were conducted using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

Additional resources

About Code42

Code42 is the leader in data loss and insider threat protection. Native to the cloud, Code42® Incydr™ data protection rapidly detects data exposure, loss, leak, and theft and speeds incident response – all without lengthy deployments, complex policy management, or disrupting employee productivity. The solution offers a complete range of response solutions, including automated microlearning modules for accidental non-malicious risk, case management for efficient investigation collaboration, and automated blocking for the highest-risk use cases. The Code42 IRM Program Launchpad helps organizations get up and running quickly to ensure success and return on investment.

With Code42, security professionals can protect corporate data and reduce data loss from insiders while fostering an open and collaborative culture for employees. Innovative organizations, including the fastest-growing security companies, rely on Code42 to safeguard their ideas. Code42’s data protection solution is FEDRAMP-authorized and can be configured for GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and other compliance frameworks. Founded in 2001, the company is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and backed by Accel Partners, JMI Equity, NewView Capital, and Split Rock Partners. Code42 has played a defining role in developing a vision and requirements for the IRM category and is a founding member of the Insider Risk Community.

Code42® Incydr™ data protection offers tangible cost benefits for customers, as found in a commissioned report by Forrester Research. Deploying in just two weeks, the solution pays for itself in 6 months, before most DLP tools are even off the ground. The average organization can expect to see a 172% return on investment, including savings from data loss that total over $680,000 as well as powerful team time savings – with 50% faster closing of incidents. 

The Company has several offices across the United States, and its clients include the most recognizable security, technology, manufacturing, and life sciences organizations, such as CrowdStrike, Okta, Lyft, BAYADA Home Health Care, Rakuten, Sumo Logic, MacDonald-Miller, MACOM, Ping Identity, Shape Technologies, and Snowflake.

© 2023 Code42 Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Code42 and Incydr are trademarks or registered trademarks of Code42 Software, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other marks are properties of their respective owners.

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