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Industry Research : Two Thirds of Senior Management Don’t Know Where Their Company Data Is
Research from Varonis Systems Inc., a provider of comprehensive data governance software, has found that 67% of respondents say that senior management in their organizations either don’t know where all company data resides or are not sure. In addition, 74% of organizations reported that they do not have a process for tracking which files have been placed on third party cloud digital collaboration and storage services. The survey was distributed to the attendees at EMC World and individuals from over 400 companies participated in the survey. With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - particularly mobile and tablet devices - and file synch services booming, companies are open to a wave of potential devastation. Files kept on third party cloud services can be lost, misplaced, accessed by unauthorized people or leave the company with the employee, causing data privacy and compliance issues.
Alarmingly, of those that are allowing cloud-based file synchronization services, only 9% of respondents’ companies have a process for authorizing and reviewing access to cloud repositories in place, with another 23% still developing their access policies. The remaining 68% either have no plans in place that they are aware of, or live without formal processes for granting and reviewing access. Without control over access, or knowledge of where potentially sensitive organizational data resides, data is virtually ‘up for grabs’.
Given the risk and operational implications of moving data into a cloud environment, it is hardly surprising that 78% of those surveyed would prefer to use their existing permissions and storage if they were able to provide collaboration and file synchronization services similar to those available in the cloud. Equally, the majority of respondents (57%) reported that BYOD would be more attractive for their organization if they could provide secure access to their internal file shares for collaboration.
"The results clearly show a lack of control by those organizations that have adopted cloud file sync services", said David Gibson, VP of Strategy at Varonis. "The most disturbing findings were the number of companies that report they have no way to track what data is being stored in the cloud, no process to manage access to that data (or plans to do so), and that management doesn’t know where enterprise data is stored. This should act as a wakeup call for organizations to develop a conscious strategy to ensure secure collaboration as quickly as possible."
David Gibson’s tips for secure collaboration are:
- Create an inventory of your most used collaboration platforms to get an overview where data lives, who has access to it, and who is using it.
- Identify data owners for each data set and have owners perform a preliminary entitlement review to see if data is stored in the right place and if the right people have access to it.
- Remediate any exposures, such as data that is accessible to too many people or regulated/sensitive content that is stored in the wrong place.
- Monitor access to all data – this will help easily identity data owners and identify unused data and abuse.
- Put a process into place that provides secure collaboration for remote employees - including synchronization, mobile device support and extranet functionality – that works within the existing enterprise servers and infrastructure.
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Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012