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Survey: More than Half of Companies Have no Formal Policies for Protecting Stored Data from Theft, Tampering

    Online News published in DMReview.com
November 2, 2005

Fifty-four percent of the more than 300 companies responding to a recent survey have no documented procedures for protecting stored data, and 70 percent of executives rated their company's data storage security as only fair or poor.

These were among the findings in the 2005 Data Storage Security Survey conducted by independent storage consulting and services company GlassHouse Technologies. The company today released the findings, which were based on responses from executives in 16 industries including government, telecommunications, technology, energy, financial services, aerospace and health care. The survey gauged companies' awareness of legal and financial threats posed by improperly secured stored data. The
responses showed that data storage protection is a growing concern among CEOs and CIOs, and will be one of the top IT issues of 2006. The survey also revealed that many companies have a tenuous grip on data storage security issues, and in some cases are proceeding on wrong assumptions. Among the survey's findings:

  • 61 percent of survey respondents believe external threats are more dangerous than internal threats, even though internal users have greater access to sensitive data;
  • 85 percent do not encrypt their backup data, despite highly publicized recent cases of backup tapes being stolen and lost; and
  • 50 percent said the company's intellectual property was their greatest concern even though there are greater legal consequences for mishandling customers' personal information.

At the strategic level, however, executives demonstrated a solid grasp of the storage data security issues; 80 percent identified either regulatory compliance or loss of public trust as the worst consequences of data theft.

 "The survey results clearly show that those of us in the storage data security field have a lot of educating to do," said W. Curtis Preston, GlassHouse's vice president of data security. "Over the last year we've seen a steady increase in the number of CEOs and CIOs getting directly involved in data storage issues. That suggests to us that storage security is going to be near the top of the IT agenda this year. CIOs
with many issues to handle will need objective information to guide their decisions, and we plan to be the source of it."


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