Part 2: Is Your Unstructured Data Safe?

Part 2: Is Your Unstructured Data Safe?

What Keeps You Up at Night? Insights from a Ponemon Data Access Governance Study: Is Your Unstructured Data Safe?

In Part 1 of this blog series, we uncovered a lurking fear among administrators everywhere: the unknown of unstructured data. Over 60% of people do not know where their unstructured data lives across their organization. This is particularly scary because unstructured data accounts for over 80% of all data within any organization. Fortunately, as we discussed previously, there are tried and true methods to discovering where this data exists to easily eliminate this worry.

Naturally, one of the next concerns as it relates to unstructured data is an organization’s confidence in safeguarding the sensitive information lurking in all those files. According to the Ponemon Study, The 2018 Study on the State of Data Access Governance, 72% of IT professionals do not feel confident in their ability to discover unstructured data containing sensitive information.

Unstructured Data. Sensitive Data, Data Discovery, Data Access Governance, DAG, safeguarding unstructured data, Ponemon, Ponemon Institute
From The 2018 Study on the State of Data Access Governance

Again, having done this for as long as we have, we’re not surprised. Organizations often aren’t sure where to begin, let alone of the tools available to help them make short work of this otherwise tall task. Once you understand that this is not as difficult a process as you might think – and that it can just be a lot of data – you may be less afraid to dive in.

During the collect and analyze phase of a Data Access Governance program, after you have located the data itself, you can break your data up into different subsets on which to focus your time and attention. You can start in a location where access is open, or perhaps where the most data exists. For instance, if you have 10 file shares, and one is open to everyone and has a lot of data while the others are locked down to smaller groups with much less data, start with the big, open share. By focusing on where the risk is, you’ll make a much bigger impact much more quickly. It’s about context!

We understand that most organizations lack confidence about where data lives, who has access to it, who is accessing it, and what they’re doing with it. But we know that with the right approach and the right tools, identifying and remediating the risks unstructured data poses doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task.

Check out the 2018 Ponemon Study on the State of Data Access Governance for more insights and follow along over the next 3 weeks as I continue to break down additional findings from the Ponemon Study. You can also subscribe to receive email alerts each time a new blog in the “What Keeps You Up at Night? Insights from a Ponemon Data Access Governance Study” series posts by signing up here.


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Tracy Fey is a Technical Marketing Documentation Specialist at STEALTHbits. Tracy creates tools and content to increase awareness of STEALTHbits products and capabilities, as well as educate on a variety of subjects in the cybersecurity space.

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