Irish companies have no control over business data, survey finds

25 Nov 2010

A worrying number of Irish companies have no control over their core business data and a portion of them have no idea how manage their data, a survey conducted by one of Ireland’s leading IT services companies suggests.

Commissioned by Origina, the study was conducted online in September this year, with 140 senior Irish IT executives in order to discover the level of understanding organisations have about the data they store – including compliance and security.

The survey’s results showed that 30pc of Irish organisations have no data-protection controls in place to safeguard the information. This leaves them open to data theft, as anyone in the company has access to the data and can copy and/or transfer it outside the security perimeter.

No controls in place

“It is remarkable that so many Irish businesses appear to have no data-protection controls in place, despite all of the warnings about the impact of data loss.

“If companies lose sensitive data or intellectual property, it could seriously damage their reputation and ability to carry out normal business activities. Increasingly, we will also see larger fines being imposed, as well,” said Rowan O’Donoghue, director of innovation and strategy, Origina.

The importance of data security has been highlighted in a recent Imperva study that found as many as 70pc of workers admitting they would take company data  – customer records, HR records and marketing material – with them when leaving their employment.

Additionally, 37pc of those IT professional surveyed in the Origina study seemed unclear as to how long data should be retained within their organisation and this lack of understanding could lead to “serious compliance and governance issues” the study found, while 65pc of respondents did not know how much of their storage is consumed by back-up copies and personal files.

“The research highlighted a large number of problems in relation to the amount of storage being used by back-up copies,” O’Donoghue.

Core business data

The results suggest that a significant number of Irish companies lack control of their core business data. This can cause major problems for Irish public and private-sector organisations, as a number of high-profile recent cases have proved.

He added: “Industry analysts are predicting that storage is to grow over the next four or five years by around 500pc. This data will all need to be housed, protected, backed up and retained. Irish businesses need to regain control or they will be swamped.”

Reassuringly, 84pc of those surveyed said they do have a defined disaster-recovery strategy in place. The study determined that it is “vital that all Irish companies have an effective and tested disaster-recovery plan that works”.

Respondents were primarily CIOs, IT directors and IT managers from Irish organisations of all sizes and sectors.