Data protection programs must adapt to stay effective

December 2nd 2013

As businesses around the world witness the risk landscape evolve into a more menacing and dangerous environment, decision-makers are investing more wholeheartedly in comprehensive information protection strategies. Unfortunately, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey highlighted how this is an ongoing uphill battle for organizations, as threats continue to stay one step ahead.

The study polled more than 9,600 executives and found that companies are identifying more threats than ever before, yet the number of firms that do not know how many breaches they have experienced continues to rise. These polar opposite findings simply drive the notion of the complexities businesses deal with on a regular basis.

"Our survey results reveal that while there have been improvements in security at companies today – which is a positive sign – many organizations are lagging their opponents and this poses significant problems for the future," said Mark Lobel, a PwC Advisory principal focused on cybersecurity. "It is essential that executives actively re-evaluate and update their security strategies and practices on a continual basis to keep pace with today's threat actors."

Continually updating data protection practices is especially important as bring your own device (BYOD) gains momentum.

Accessing anything from anywhere

Now that individuals have the ability to use personal smartphones, tablets and laptops for work-related purposes, decision-makers need to ensure they have the endpoint protection technologies and processes in place to keep all computing platforms safe. In many cases, organizations have turned to the cloud to augment security practices.

PwC found that 47 percent of respondents currently use cloud computing technologies in the workplace. Among businesses that do use the cloud, roughly 59 percent said security has improved as a result. While the cloud may have caused initial confusion about its overall protective qualities, it has become clear that the hosted services can actually help decision-makers safeguard resources.

Similar findings were echoed in another Microsoft study, which found that 62 percent of businesses saw an increase in privacy protection capabilities, while a total of 94 percent experienced some overall security benefit that they did not have with traditional computing technologies.

As the threat landscape continues to evolve, decision-makers must learn to adapt and fight fire with fire. If organizations rely on antiquated practices, they will find it increasingly difficult to keep mission-critical assets safe when they are surrounded by increasingly dangerous risks.