Data not as secure as it seems: Accenture Study

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 29 April 2010, 10:00 Hrs   |    10 Comments
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New York: Nearly three-quarters of organizations believe they have adequate policies in place to protect sensitive, personal information, yet more than half have lost sensitive data within the past two years - and nearly 60 percent of those organizations acknowledge data loss as a recurring problem, according to findings of a global study released by Accenture.

The study - which surveyed more than 5,500 business leaders and 15,500 adult consumers in 19 countries' reveals a startling difference between organizations - intentions regarding data privacy and how they actually protect sensitive personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, race, National ID/social security number and medical history. The study was conducted in conjunction with the Ponemon Institute, an independent privacy, protection and information security research firm.

"The volume of sensitive personal information being collected and shared by organizations has grown exponentially in recent years, making data protection a critical business issue and not just a technology concern," said Alastair MacWillson, Managing Director of Accenture's Security practice. "Our study underscores the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to data privacy and protection, one that closes the gaps between business strategy, risk management, compliance reporting and IT security."

While many organizations believe that complying with existing regulations is sufficient, it appears that compliance alone may not be enough to protect sensitive data. For instance, 70 percent of respondents said they regularly monitor privacy and data protection regulatory compliance requirements, yet data breaches have occurred in 58 percent of organizations polled.

The study also identified significant differences in terms of attitudes and policies regarding data privacy and protection between organizations that had not experienced any data-security breach in the past two years and those that had.

Teaming with Accenture, the Ponemon Institute independently conducted studies in 19 countries. Responses were collected using a combination of secure Web and telephone interview methods. The survey contained a series of objective, fixed-formatted questions held constant across national samples. The business portion of the study is based on responses from 5, 512 business and IT practitioners, while the consumer portion is based on responses from 15,732 adult-aged consumers.

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