Four data security nightmares, as told by CIOs

What was the last nightmare you had? For some of us, it may have involved a phobia – falling, being chased or anything else that one may find terrifying. For IT leaders and CIOs, the worst nightmares can involve one scary and unpredictable thing: data security.

More than 139 data breaches have been reported so far in 2016, meaning that security nightmares are valid. So, what are the situations that creep into technology leaders’ subconscious minds? Reporter Jen A. Miller recently polled four IT leaders to find out. One theme ran through the responses she collected, as highlighted in her CIO.com piece: the location of every company’s sensitive data.

In speaking with Miller, Andrew Hay, DataGravity CISO, attributed C-level fears to the “lack of data-awareness that organizations have in terms of where information is stored and what type of sensitive information is accessible by people who shouldn’t have it.” As Hay explained, due to employees’ habits and personal consumer electronics, a company’s critical data can easily be spread across the internet. Not knowing the answer to a question as simple as, “Where is our data?” can quickly become a nightmare for a security pro.

The location of sensitive data (and its management by employees) was also a major concern for executives at SafeGuard World International, Vertafore and Egnyte, according to Miller’s article. As they note, employees at every company have varying levels of access to critical information, but they can leave their jobs at any time. If those workers jump to competing organizations, they can expose their previous companies’ intellectual property. Meanwhile, even employees who stay on staff can pose a risk. Simply by cutting corners on a data management process, an employee could invite a hacker into the company’s network, inciting a breach and turning the organization into a front-page sensation.

Luckily, a good night’s sleep is in sight for these security pros – as long as their organizations take precautionary actions. These might involve training employees to keep data safe, implementing software to monitor file access or tightening the restrictions surrounding which employees can access sensitive files. In any case, when companies exercise control over the location and protection of their data, their actions ultimately lead to a host of well-rested employees – not just IT leaders.

Sleep soundly by becoming a data detective.

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Devlyn Coelho

Devlyn Coelho is the Director of Corporate Marketing at DataGravity. She previously held marketing leadership roles at Enterprise Strategy Group, Dell, and EqualLogic.