Poll shows, many executives lose documents and use non-secure e-mail servers (Photo: Microsoft)

Top executives at medium-size companies often sidestep corporate data security rules, according to a new study.

CEOs and other senior executives could well be the weakest link in corporate efforts to protect highly sensitive and confidential company information, the study by Iron Mountain found.

The information management and archiving specialist Iron Mountain polled company managers on how they handle such dataand more than half of them said they had left confidential papers on printers. Slightly fewer than half confessed to using personal e-mail for sensitive communications.

Moreover, 40 pc of executives polled said they had used wireless networks and 39 pc said they had lost documents in public places.

"Our poll shows that managers in mid-size companies are a bigger threat to sensitive information than any other employee," Iron Mountain's managing director for Germany, said in a press release.