Dark data creates major security blind spots

Veritas research reveals over half of all data within UAE organisations remain unclassified

The time has come for data management to be accorded the importance it warrants at boardroom level, says Karam.
The time has come for data management to be accorded the importance it warrants at boardroom level, says Karam.

Over half (57%) of all data within UAE organisations remains unclassified or untagged (dark data), creating a ripe target for hackers, according to a new research by Veritas Technologies. The Value of Data study, conducted by Vanson Bourne for Veritas, surveyed 1,500 IT decision makers and data managers across 15 countries, including 100 senior professionals from the UAE.

Johnny Karam, regional vice president, Emerging Region, Veritas Technologies, said, “The time has come for data management to be accorded the importance it warrants at boardroom level. While we have seen an encouraging decrease in the levels of redundant, obsolete and trivial data in the UAE in recent years, a startling 83 % of companies indicate that they have classified less than half of their public cloud data. It not only makes business sense to prioritise an intelligent data management and IT infrastructure, but this will also help businesses achieve greater operational efficiency in the long-term. This is where Veritas can help, by extracting the complexity from the process, identifying dark data, removing risks and delivering true value for organisations.”

Classifying data enables organisations to quickly scan and tag data to ensure that sensitive or risky information is properly managed and protected, regardless of where that data lives. This broad visibility into data helps companies comply with ever-increasing and stringent data protection regulations that require discrete retention policies be implemented and enforced across an organisation’s entire data estate.

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Public cloud and mobile environments represent the weakest links in data security, with the majority of data across these environments most likely to be left unclassified and potentially unprotected. Just 2% of companies in the UAE claim to have classified all their data in the public cloud, while only 7% have classified all of the data that sits on mobile devices. In addition, an overwhelming majority (83%) of UAE companies admit they have classified less than half of their public cloud data – the highest of all countries, followed by China at 81% and Singapore at 67%, while 61% of UAE businesses have classified less than half of the data that sits on mobile devices.

Veritas’ previous 2018 UAE Databerg Report revealed that an alarming 50% of organisations in the UAE believe that their cloud service providers should share responsibility for managing data in the cloud, although cloud provider contracts usually place data management responsibility on businesses. Just 23% of UAE businesses stated that it is their responsibility to manage the data on their cloud.

Organisations consider strengthening data security (65%), improving data visibility and control (42 %) and ensuring effective back-up and recovery of data (48%) among their top key drivers for day-to-day data management. Yet the majority of respondents admit that their organisation still needs to make improvements in all of these areas.

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