Senior management unsure of where company data lies

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BYOD culture makes it worse says survey

Two thirds of senior management don’t know where their company data is, a new report has suggested.

In a survey of attendees at EMC World and individuals from over 400 companies, Varonis Systems, a company which specialises in  data governance software, identified that 67 percent of senior management heads in their organisations either don’t know where all company data resides or are not sure.

In addition, 74 percent of organisations admitted that they didn’t have a process in place for tracking data that had been sent onto a third party cloud digital collaboration and storage service.

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture, especially when it comes to mobile and tablet devices, is not doing any favours for companies yet, according to Varonis. Varonis claims  files kept on third party cloud services can be lost, misplaced, accessed by unauthorised people or leave the company with the employee, causing data privacy and compliance issues.

Of the companies that allow cloud-based file synchronisation services, only nine percent of those surveyed had a process for authorising and reviewing access to cloud repositories in place, while nearly a third of these are still developing their access policies.

The company found that the remaining 68 percent of companies either have no plans in place that they are aware of, or live without formal processes for granting and reviewing access.

Varonis said that without control over access, or knowledge of where potentially sensitive organisational data sat, data was virtually “up for grabs”.

However, businesses seem to be aware of the risks with 78 percent of those surveyed claiming that they would prefer to use their existing permissions and storage if they were able to provide collaboration and file synchronisation services – similar to those available in the cloud.

Just over half said that BYOD would be a more positive step for a company if it could provide secure access to internal file shares for collaboration.

David Gibson, VP of Strategy at Varonis, said: “The results clearly show a lack of control by those organisations that have adopted cloud file sync services.

“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 organisations to develop a conscious strategy to ensure secure collaboration as quickly as possible.”

He recommended businesses created an inventory of their most used collaboration platforms to get an overview where data lived and who had access to it, as well as remediating any exposures, such as data that is accessible to too many people or sensitive content that is stored in the wrong place.


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