Enterprise business software vendor Micro Focus has issued a warning after commissioned research found huge numbers of businesses are still taking next to no precautions to secure confidential data during the application testing process.
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The Ponemon Institute surveyed over 1,350 practitioners in the UK and US at companies making between $10m and $20bn on behalf of Micro Focus, and found that 79% of them had experienced one data breach in the past 12 months,but that 70% of them had no data masking techniques in place.
Most worryingly, according to Micro Focus, a majority also admitted they used customer records, employee records, credit cards and other confidential information during application development and testing.
A full 90% said that customer data was used on a monthly basis in test environments.
The vast amounts of data being used in the application testing process by some corporations only increased the risk of a breach,whether due to human error or external attack.
“Given the high profile of data breaches across the world and the frequency with which testing take place it seems unbelievable that organisations have not taken the necessary steps to ensure their data is secure during this regular process,” said Micro Focus CTO Stuart McGill.
Dr Larry Ponemon, who conducted the research, said that although it was understandable that organisations would want to be efficient during a time consuming process, “cutting corners by not masking data could cause irreparable damage to a company’s database and reputation”.