Information Sprawl: 46% Is Outside The Enterprise Firewall

In a world increasingly dominated by the cloud and mobility, securing information just got a whole lot more interesting.

A new study from Symantec finds that the IT mega-trends like cloud computing, mobility and BYOD are driving information sprawl, with 46% of organizations’ information outside their data centers (53% for SMBs). According to the 2012 State of Information Report, the emerging anywhere, any time, any information paradigm is creating concern about how to best protect this information.

“Clearly information sprawl is moving to mobility and cloud,” said Symantec’s John Engels, principal product manager for the enterprise mobility group. “Traditionally data security and storage has focused on how to optimize data within the data center,” With BYOD and cloud, information is no longer contained behind a company’s firewall, so protection must focus on the information, not the device or data center, to mitigate risk, he said.

The survey of 4,506 organizations in 36 countries found that the majority of companies are discussing custom mobile applications, corporate app stores, and 59% already run line of business apps, said Engels. As for the cloud, 78% are discussing it and 42% have begun implementation.

Smartphones and tablets store 14% of enterprise information globally, and information accessed on mobile devices is more than double that, 31% for enterprises. More than 33% of businesses had experienced the exposure of confidential information as a result of lost or stolen mobile devices. The study report other issues arise from being unable to find the required information, with a large proportion of it being unorganized or difficult to find.

Globally, 23% of business information is stored in the cloud, between public, private and hybrid deployments. Over a quarter of businesses surveyed have experienced challenges as a result of information sprawl. And even within the firewall, their storage utilization is at just 31 percent, dipping even lower – 18% – outside the data center.

Symantec has been focusing on cloud and mobile security for more than the last 18 months and spinning out new products, said Engels. For example the company’s mobility strategy rests on five pillars – user and app access, app and data protection, device management, threat protection, and secure file sharing – and there are technologies and products to support each pillar. In addition to rolling out more cloud and mobile offerings, he said there will also be integration across these products.

Finally, Symantec offered the following recommendations:

-Focus on the information, not the device or data center: With BYOD and cloud, information is no longer within the four walls of a company. Protection must focus on the information, not the device or data center.

-Not all information is equal: Business must be able to separate useless data from valuable business information and protect it accordingly.

-Be efficient: Deduplication and archiving help companies protect more, but store less to keep pace with exponential data growth.

-Consistency is key: It is important to set consistent policies for information that can be enforced wherever it’s located… physical, mobile, virtual and cloud environments.

-Stay agile: Plan for your future information needs by implementing a flexible infrastructure to support continued growth.


Author: Steve Wexler

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