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Ponemon Releases Survey

SAN FRANCISCO -- Privacy and information management research firm the Ponemon Institute and Vontu, Inc., the leader in data loss prevention solutions, today announced the findings of a new study on the issues associated with protecting corporate data residing on storage systems and mobile devices. The U.S. Survey: Confidential Data at Risk, examines risks associated with the storage of confidential information; technologies, practices, and procedures used for protecting stored data; and primary concerns expressed by organizations facing the challenges of protecting stored sensitive data from unauthorized exposure.

Stored data presents unique challenges for enterprise security, and the U.S. Survey: Confidential Data at Risk is a first-of-its-kind study on the topic. Derived from a national sampling of nearly 500 experienced information security practitioners, the survey reveals a number of key findings, including:

  • 81 percent of companies surveyed reported the loss of one or more
    laptop computers containing sensitive information during the previous
    12 months.
  • Loss of confidential data, such as intellectual property, business
    documents, customer data and employee records, is a pervasive problem.
  • PDAs and laptops ranked highest among storage devices posing the
    greatest risk for sensitive corporate data, followed by USB memory
    sticks, desktop systems, and shared file servers.
  • 64 percent of companies surveyed reported never having conducted an
    inventory of sensitive consumer information. 64 percent also reported
    never having inventoried employee data.
  • When asked how long it would take to determine what actual sensitive
    data was on a lost or stolen laptop, desktop, file server, or mobile
    device, the most frequent answer was "never" -- ranging from 24% for a
    file server to 62% for an employee's home computer.
  • 81 percent of respondents report that protecting sensitive "data at
    rest" is a priority this year, and 89 percent anticipate that it will
    be a priority next year.

The U.S. Survey offers insights that, for the first time, help illuminate the challenges of securing confidential "data at rest," defined as all electronic information found on storage devices within the organization's IT infrastructure. The study also identifies the probability that various storage media are likely to contain unprotected sensitive information, ranks corporate data security priorities by department, including IT, call centers and marketing operations, and examines the types of intellectual property and business information that are of most concern to corporate security teams.

"Corporations are clearly struggling with the challenges of identifying and protecting sensitive data, as well as developing successful strategies for securing confidential information stored among the myriad devices that make up today's data networks," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "Our findings point to the shockingly high risk to both business and consumers of undiscovered confidential data, but we believe that the data also serve as a compass to help point organizations toward effective solutions to this vexing problem."

Vontu Inc.

Ponemon Institute LLC