Report: Plugging Data Leaks Is High Priority

By Lisa Vaas Print this article Print

A new survey finds that 90 percent of companies plan to implement new technology to secure electronic copies of intellectual property in the coming year.

In the wake of incidents such as TJX's potentially massive loss of data to theft, reported in January, it shouldn't come as a surprise to find that 90 percent of companies plan to plug in new technology to secure electronic copies of intellectual property in the coming year.

That was one finding of a report from Enterprise Strategy Group, issued on March 5, entitled "Intellectual Property Rules." ESG surveyed 112 organizations, each with more than 1,000 employees, for the report.

One of the findings that surprised ESG was how big the IP problem is, according to Eric Ogren, a security analyst for ESG.

Protecting PII (personally identifiable information) such as the credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other pieces of user and customer data are actually not the top priority with most organizations, Ogren said. "We asked upfront, what do you consider to be intellectual property?" he said. "What they want to protect is financial information, contracts and agreements. Only after that is PII."

Other IP that companies are looking to protect include, in order of reported priority, source code, competitive intelligence, internal research data, design specifications, customers' PII, trade secrets, CRM (customer relationship management) databases, patent documents and sponsored research data.

What's tough about protecting such data is that it comes in so many different forms. Much of it doesn't fit into a neat fixed-format, as would Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, for example. Instead, it comes from all over the network. Specifically, ESG's report shows that in the surveyed population, 21 percent of IP resides in corporate e-mail; 17 percent lives in corporate portals or intranets; 34 percent is stored in application databases such as SAP, Oracle or SQL Server; and 28 percent is kept in file systems, including spreadsheets, Word documents and the like.

"If you think e-mail is your only issue, you're only solving 20 percent of [the] problem," Ogren said.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Report: Plugging Data Leaks Is High Priority

This article was originally published on 2007-03-05
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.
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