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Reuters

The widely publicised Sony Pictures hack highlighted the risks to corporates entities from data breaches, but the greatest threat comes from within a firm's staff, said data security provider Vormetric.

Some 93% of US respondents said their organisations were somewhat, or more, vulnerable to insider threats, according to Vormetric's 2015 Insider Threat Report.

Vormetric's online survey was carried out by Harris Poll and in conjunction with analyst firm Ovum in late 2014, and questioned 818 information technology decision makers in various countries.

The survey found that 46% of 408 US respondents believe cloud environments are the greatest risk for loss of sensitive data in their organisation.

Cloud information is stored on a virtual drive that allows enterprise users to access data the office from anywhere at anytime.

"[Our report] indicates nearly all of US organisations polled perceive a security vacuum and feel quite threatened," said Andrew Kellett, lead analyst for Ovum.

"As much as we may have hoped to believe it, the Edward Snowden affair was not our data security pinnacle. According to the report, almost half of US organisations polled experienced a data breach or failed a compliance audit in the past year, which tells us the situation has probably gotten more complicated."

Snowden attracted international attention after he leaked up to 1.7 million top secret documents from the US National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programmes. He is currently in Russia, and is wanted by the US on charges of espionage and theft of government property.

Last year, Sony Pictures was hit by a vast cyber security breach that has led to unidentified hackers leaking unreleased movies, emails between senior executives and confidential information relating to members of staff.

This includes social security numbers, salaries, healthcare records, performance evaluations and reasons for termination.