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Nearly 40 Percent of Large Organizations Don't Monitor Databases for Suspicious Activity – Or Don't Know If They Do

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Nearly 40 Percent of Large Organizations Don't Monitor Databases for Suspicious Activity – Or Don't Know If They Do

Customer and employee data remains at greatest risk; IT understands the threat, but competing corporate priorities fuel epidemic of data theft and misuse

Application Security, Inc., today (4 June 2007) announced the results of a Ponemon Institute survey that underscores the serious challenges large organizations face in securing sensitive data. With more than 150 million data records exposed in just the past two years, the survey also highlights an organizational disconnect between the realization of the threat and the urgency in addressing it.

Conducted by one of the world's foremost authorities on data security and privacy, the Ponemon Institute survey queried 649 respondents in corporate information technology (IT) departments within U.S.-, European- and Middle Eastern-based business and or government organizations. Respondents averaged more than 7 years of experience in the information security field; more than 60 percent work within corporate CIO or CTO departments.

In what's an increasingly precarious balancing act, organizations are wrestling with how to protect data from misuse by external and internal forces alike, while expanding access to the same data to drive business initiatives. Highlighting these challenges, the Ponemon Institute/AppSecInc survey reveals that:

  • Forty percent said their organizations don't monitor their databases for suspicious activity, or don't know if such monitoring occurs. Notably, more than half of these organizations have 500 or more databases – and the number of databases is growing.
  • “Trusted” insiders' ability to compromise critical data was cited as the most serious concern – with 57 percent perceiving inadequate protection against malicious insiders and 55 percent for “data loss” by internal entities.
  • Seventy-eight percent believe that databases are either critical or important to their business. Customer data represents the most common data type contained within these databases.
  • Customer/consumer and employee data ranks 3 rd and 4 th respectively in regard to organizations' prioritization of what must be protected.
  • Organizations rank application upgrades (25%), IT efficiency (20%) and consolidation (19%) as their top three IT priorities, ahead of upgrading security (13%). Forty percent state that addressing changes in regulatory compliance (including, SOX, PCI, etc.) are not on the 2007 IT agenda.

“Data can be monetized quickly and that's well understood by those who seek to misappropriate sensitive corporate information,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “Organizations that fail to protect their data effectively are proving easy targets – often left to contend with considerable damage to their reputations and financial results.”

“Unless organizations are protecting their databases, everything else they're doing for security is on shaky ground,” said Toby Weiss, president and CEO of AppSecInc. “All the focus on wireless security, web applications and pin pads, while important, is missing the point. If the thieves aren't already inside your business – as employees or intruders – they will find a way. IT groups understand these risks and are looking for additional executive-level support to deploy the people, products and processes necessary to defend their most sensitive asset – the data – where it lives.”


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