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New tech putting sensitive data at risk, report confirms

Deployments of new technologies are putting sensitive corporate data at risk because organisations are struggling to secure these new IT environments, a report confirms

Enterprises are struggling with cloud complexity as the business demand for digitally transformative technologies outpaces security capabilities, a global threat report shows.

The rush to digital transformation is putting data at risk for organisations worldwide, according to the 2019 Thales data threat report, based on a survey of 1,200 executives in nine countries.

As organisations embrace new technologies, such as multi-cloud deployments, they are struggling to implement proper data security, the survey confirms.

Most respondents (97%) reported that their organisation was already underway with some level of digital transformation, confirming that they are using and exposing sensitive data within these environments.

Aggressive digital transformers are most at risk for data breaches, the study report said, with the show showing that less than a third of respondents (30%) are using encryption within these environments.

However, the study also found there are a few key areas where encryption adoption and usage are above average, including the internet of things (IoT) (42%), containers (47%) and big data (45%). 

As companies move to the cloud or multi-cloud environments as part of their digital transformation journey, the report said protecting their sensitive data is becoming increasingly complex.

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The survey shows 90% of respondents are using, or will be using, some type of cloud environment, and 44% rated complexity of that environment as a perceived barrier to implementing proper data security measures, ahead of staff needs, budget restraints and getting organisational buy-in.   

As a result, 60% of respondents said they have been breached at some point in their history, and 30% said they had experienced a breach in the past year alone. The report states the bottom line is that whatever technologies an organisation deploys to make digital transformation happen, the easy and timely access to data puts this data at risk internally and externally. 

The study shows 86% of organisations feel vulnerable to data threats, but this does not always translate into security best practices, with less than 30% of respondents using encryption as part of their digital transformation strategy. 

Frank Dickson, research vice-president for security products research at IDC, said the research shows no organisation is immune from data security threats.

“In fact, we found the most sophisticated organisations are more likely to indicate they have experienced a data security breach,” he said.

According to Dickson, this trend is consistent, even for organisations spending more on IT security or for whom data security is a larger portion of their security budget, and those that are further along in their digital transformation journey.

Tina Stewart, vice-president of market strategy at Thales eSecurity said data security is vitally important. “Organisations need to take a fresh look at how they implement a data security and encryption strategy in support of their transition to the cloud and meeting regulatory and compliance mandates because, as our report shows, we have now reached a point where almost every organisation has been breached.”

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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