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Varonis Report Identifies Widespread Shortcomings of Organizational Data Security Despite Increased Pressure of Regulations

Varonis reports that even after GDPR, businesses still are failing to effectively protect sensitive data. The report investigated Data Risk Assessments performed in over 30 countries, across over 30 industries. GDPR has been in full effect for over a year, but many organizations are still struggling to comply with adequate protection of sensitive data. The Varonis report highlights that 53% of companies found over 1,000 sensitive files accessible to all employees, meanwhile 22% of folders were open to every employee. On top of that, over 58% of organizations found over 1,000 stale user accounts and on average, 53% of data was stale across the organizations studied. In fact, 71% of organizations found over 5,000 stale, sensitive files.

Our Take

Organizations need to take a strict approach to data privacy. Based on the findings of the report, it is evident that many organizations need to implement more appropriate measures to limit internal access to sensitive and regulated data. Audits and reviews of servers to assess the relevance of their access groups is a must-do for any organization aiming to be compliant with regulations like GDPR or CCPA.

The prominence of stale data is a concerning statistic. By keeping sensitive files past their mandatory retention period, organizations are introducing additional unnecessary risk. To address this, organizations are encouraged to implement Privacy by Design practices, by minimizing the amount of sensitive data that is collected, accessible, and retained. Once it is no longer needed, the stale data should be archived or deleted.

Organizations must not only focus on keeping attackers out, but also focus on securing data internally. Preventative controls, such as encryption, can work in tandem with stricter access controls to help organizations reach compliance with new and existing privacy regulations.

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