More than half of all data remains unclassified: Survey

On average, more than half of all data within organizations (52 percent) remains unclassified or untagged, according to a global survey commissioned by Veritas Technologies. The survey of 1,500 IT decision makers and data managers across 15 countries found that that companies have limited or no visibility over vast volumes of potentially business-critical data.

According to the “Value of Data” study, conducted by Vanson Bourne, an independent market researcher, mobile and public cloud environments represents some of the weakest links in data security. Most of the data available in these environments is left unclassified.

Part of the problem could come from an inability to assign responsibility. According to Veritas, 69% of global organisations believe that data privacy and protection are the responsibility of their cloud service providers. However, most contracts with cloud providers place data management in the hands of the business.

According to the Senior Director of Veritas for Northern Europe, Jasmit Sagoo, modern workforces are becoming more mobile, and data more distributed. Businesses now have a bigger challenge ahead of them to ensure that they have the right control and visibility over that data. If information isn’t correctly classified, it can present a huge security risk to companies and customers.

Today’s enterprises need to be willing to take responsibility for their data, or they’ll have to face some serious consequences.

Organizations estimate that they lose over $2 million per year as they struggle with data management challenges. 36% of IT leaders say employees are less efficient due to siloed data management processes, while 38% say their organization’s strategic decision-making is slowed because of ineffective data management processes.

Only 29% of respondents say their organization has adopted a strategic, fully integrated approach to data management deployment. This implies the vast majority are taking a siloed approach and struggle to integrate disparate data management solutions. Often this siloed infrastructure results from continuing to add specialized, non-integrated point solutions and/or data storage repositories over a period of years.

58% also say the complexity of their data footprint limits their ability to realize the value of their data. 46% admit there isn’t enough awareness or sponsorship in their enterprise about the consequences of poorly integrated data management capabilities, which implies they are often fighting an uphill battle to drive change.

When asked what challenges their organization currently faces with day-to-day management of data, IT leaders’ answers included:

• Too many different data management systems to manage

• Spiralling costs make data management harder

• Too many complex data sources that are difficult to analyse

• Lacking the right skills/technology to harness the power of data

Per the recent report, 65% of businesses say that strengthening data security is crucial, and 41% believe in the importance of gaining data visibility and control. However, most respondents from the study admit that their organisation must make considerable improvements in areas of regulatory compliance, security, and visibility.

According to Sagoo, all businesses today are facing the threat of being targeted by cybercriminals – for most it’s just a matter of when.

“If dark data serves as an entry point for attacks, then a company could be in serious trouble. The more today’s organisations understand their data, the better they will be at reducing its risks. Now that the average business holds billions of files of data, manually classifying all of that information would be impossible. Fortunately, there are data management tools that can help with intelligent algorithms, machine learning, and advanced policies.

Download the report HERE.