By Kelly Jackson Higgins
March 4, 2008
Most enterprises still dont know where their sensitive data resides, and
less than half of those that do know are actually enforcing its
protection, according to new research to be released next month by The
Seventy-five percent dont know who their employees are talking to, says
Nick Selby, director of research operations and research director of
enterprise security for The 451 Group. But this is not an IT problem --
its a business problem.
The 451 Group survey , which will be published as part of its Mind
the Data Gap report next month, found that only 37 percent of
enterprises have determined where their data physically resides in the
organization. Only 26 percent have established data-sensitivity
classification schemes -- such as public, confidential, and regulated"
-- to label their data, and over half of those respondents say
enforcement of these data classifications is nonexistent in their
Selby says of the around 320 IT decision-makers his firm surveyed, only
22 percent of them had done any analysis on interdepartmental
communication. We are finding that they dont know where the data is
because they dont understand how they do business... They dont
understand the processes, he says.
Those organizations that are on track with classifying their data either
do business with the government or are regulated to label their datas
sensitivity, Selby says.
And it appears enterprises are out of touch when it comes to just how
data leaks in the real world, according to The 451 Group. While data
leakage by email accounted for only about 0.5 percent of the incidents
(there were two so far) reported to Attrition.org's database this year,
some 38 percent of respondents to 451's survey said employees leaking
information via email or USB device, for instance, was either somewhat
or very likely. And 44 percent said employees stealing information this
way was somewhat or very likely, according to the survey.
But The 451 Group says this disconnect may be more about organizations
in general just not knowing their users are leaking data via email. "It
is inconceivable to us that so few losses occurred by a channel like
email," according to its latest blog entry.
Meanwhile, Selby says before organizations throw tools at the data
leakage problem, they first need to have their senior business and IT
people team up to analyze data volumes, traffic, and study which groups
need to talk to which groups, etc.
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