Fibre-optic cables are the best method of transferring enterprise data outside the office, according to IDC, but are not without their security issues.
"Fibre-optic cable networks have been deemed the fastest, most reliable and most secure way of transporting data through the network for decades," said the report. "But this reputation has now been proven wrong for several years with the arrival of new and inexpensive technologies making data theft easily available to hackers."
IDC added that companies would be well advised to add additional security to the systems, particularly if they are likely targets for data theft.
"Optical fibre cables have the reputation of being more difficult to hack than traditional copper cables. This reputation, however, is not justified," the report warned.
"With tapping and hacking technologies becoming easily available to anyone, tapping into fibre cables with very little chance of being detected is becoming easier than before."
IDC detailed a number of potential vulnerabilities in fibre-optic systems. The light used for transferring data can be intercepted simply by bending a cable and using readily available maintenance tools, and it is relatively easy to cut into a cable to add a new connection.
The analysts made a number of recommendations for companies looking to shore up their own security on optical networks. However, IDC said that the simplest and most effective way is to encrypt data before it leaves the enterprise.
IDC added that the severity of the weaknesses, and the sensitivity of the information being transferred, mean that optical networks require government intervention and regulation.