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New York (US) and London (UK): A survey conducted by Varonis, the leading provider of comprehensive data governance software, has revealed that 70% of organisations storing third party data are not ‘very confident’ that the sensitive data stored within their organisation is protected. With 80% of organisations surveyed storing sensitive information from customers, clients, vendors and business partners, rather disconcertingly over half were only ‘fairly confident’ that it is protected. Nearly one fifth were ‘not confident at all’ that sensitive data is protected and an astonishing 5% were left ‘unsure’.

This means that the majority of organisations in this study are failing to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, the UK Data Protection Act 1988 and the EU Data Directive on Privacy which may result in organisations being subject to 2% fines of global revenue. David Gibson, Director of Strategy for Varonis, explains: “It’s worrying that so many companies are still complacent when it comes to data protection. It means that these organisations would have some serious questions to answer should they suffer a breach. In fact, regulators such as the SEC, ICO and EU would likely deem that they had failed in their obligation to provide appropriate security protection to prevent sensitive data breaches and impose a hefty financial penalty. It’s really not rocket science, if you’ve got sensitive data and you’re not very confident that it’s adequately protected you need to take action.”

When looking at the difference between organisations, of those who claimed to be very confident that their data was protected, 60% were very confident that they know where their sensitive data is stored. Over 40% monitor all actual access activity and assign owners to all folders and intranet sites. Additionally, 65% review and revoke permissions– 45% do so regularly, so not just when someone leaves the organisation.

Unsurprisingly, those who are not confident that the data within their organisations is protected do not know where their data is stored (10%), do not monitor all data access (0%), do not have owners assigned for all data (3%), and less regularly review and revoke access.

For an infographic showing highlights of the research and a pdf of the full results please see: