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A recent study performed by the Ponemon Institute, revealed that nearly 83% of UK firms are unsure of the location of their sensitive data.

Ponemon’s The State of Data Centric Security report surveyed more than 1,500 IT and IT security professionals from 16 countries to understand how IT security is addressing threats to structured and unstructured data.

According to the study findings, not knowing the location of confidential data is the greatest concern of IT practitioners (57 percent), followed by the concern of migration to new mobile platforms (51 percent) and temporary worker or contractor mistakes (50 percent).

The study also found that the majority of respondents (79 percent) believed that an automated platform could help resolve the issue of locating private data. However, only 40 percent of UK organizations actually use this method, whilst only 22 percent of those use it to discover sensitive data in emails and files.

Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, says these finding indicate that sensitive and confidential data continues have an impact beyond traditional IT perimeters.

“The majority of respondents agree that not knowing the location of data poses a serious security threat,” says Ponemon. “Clearly, the time is ripe for a wider adoption of the technologies and expertise to make data-centric security an enterprise priority.”

Additional key survey findings include:

  • 26 percent of respondents reported they are confident in their ability to always detect a data breach involving structured data, while only 12 percent are as confident if the breach involves unstructured data
  • 58 percent of respondents believe data breaches could be avoided if the organization had more effective data security technologies; 57 percent believe a solution would be more skilled data security personnel and 54 percent believe in the need of more automated processes and controls
  • Top technologies used to protect structured data assets are sensitive data classification (68 percent) and application-level access controls (62 percent)
  • 54 percent of unstructured assets are also most often protected by sensitive data classification

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