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Ponemon Unveils Study

NEW YORK and TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Varonis Systems Inc. (, the leading innovator and provider of comprehensive data governance software, and the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and information management research firm, today announced the availability of a new research report, Survey on the Governance of Unstructured Data,” which highlights the need for organizations to control access to unstructured corporate data. Unstructured data refers to electronic information like spreadsheets, documents, presentations, multi-media file, blueprints or any data stored and accessed on file servers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices.

The study surveyed 870 individuals who work in IT operations and have an average of approximately 10 years of IT and business experience. According to the survey, 89 percent of survey respondents admit that controlling access to unstructured data is very challenging. In addition, nearly 70 percent feel that access to their unstructured data by employees is very often unwarranted, a situation that they are unable to rectify because they don’t have the means to monitor and control access. In fact, 84 percent of organizations say their unstructured data is accessible by people with no business need for access.

Unstructured data comprises the vast majority of digital business assets, so ensuring that access is controlled and governed by business need-to-know is imperative. The rate at which unstructured data is being created means the challenge of managing and protecting it will not only grow, but become exponentially more difficult. This is reflected by survey respondents who collectively show an exploding market need for technology and automation.

Additional key findings of the survey include:

  • 91 percent of organizations lack a process for determining data ownership and 76 percent can’t determine who can access unstructured data
  • 61 percent of organizations do not have a process for monitoring which users are accessing unstructured data
  • 84 percent of respondents believe controlling unstructured data access will remain important or get more important within their organization in the next two years
  • 77 percent of respondents note that automating the process of managing unstructured data is currently lacking, with the same percentage indicating that they would likely evaluate such a solution
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