Report: Majority of businesses deploy sensitive data without proper security in place

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Thales e-Security Inc. has just published its 2017 Data Threat Report, revealing that an overwhelming number of enterprises are using sensitive data in advanced computing solutions without adequate safeguards in place.

Thales’ survey, which was conducted alongside 451 Research Inc., found that 93 percent of enterprise respondents plan to use sensitive data in big data, cloud, container, Internet of Things and Software-as-a-Service environments this year. However, 63 percent of those organizations also admitted they don’t have appropriate data security solutions in place.

Still, while data security in the cloud remains a concern, people aren’t panicking as much about it as they were last year. In 2016, Thales said 70 percent of enterprises admitted to being uneasy about the prospect of a breach targeting their cloud service provider, but this year only 59 percent expressed the same fears. A second major concern is “shared infrastructure vulnerabilities”, shared by 57 percent of respondents. In addition, 55 percent of enterprises said they were worried about a “lack of control over the location of data”.

SaaS is becoming more popular too, with 57 percent of enterprises using sensitive data in such environments, up from 53 percent one year ago. SaaS-related fears include online storage (cited by 60 percent of respondents), online backup (56 percent) and online accounting (54 percent).

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Internet of Things’ adoption is even higher, with 85 percent of enterprises now using the technology in some form or other. Of those, 31 percent said they use sensitive data in IoT environments. More interesting though is the fact that enterprises don’t seem to be all that worried about data security in IoT, with only 32 percent of respondents saying they were “very concerned,” despite the often critical nature of such tools. Pressed on their top fears with IoT, respondents said “protecting the sensitive data IoT generates” and “identifying sensitive data” were the biggest issues.

Another 47 percent of enterprises said they store sensitive data in big data environments. Here, respondents said the major concerns were “sensitive data everywhere” (46 percent) and “security of reports” (44 percent).

Application container users also admit to having some worries. Security was cited as the main barrier to adoption by 47 percent of enterprises, while other concerns were raised around “unauthorized container access” (43 percent) and “malware spread between containers” (39 percent).

The survey results show that there’s an urgent need for an evolution in IT security measures, Thales said in conclusion of its findings.

“The digital world we live in, which encompasses everything from cloud to big data and the IoT, demands an evolution of IT security measures,” said Peter Galvin, vice president of strategy at Thales. “Traditional methods aren’t robust enough to combat today’s complicated threat landscape.”

Photo: Christoph Scholz/Flickr