ATLANTA and LONDON, Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Data breaches, such as those that struck Sony Pictures in 2014 and Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016, are a daily reality and wreak havoc on organizations. The use of improper data removal methods and the poor enforcement of data retention policies have created the 'perfect storm' for confidential, oftentimes sensitive data to be lost or stolen, according to the Delete vs. Erase: How Companies Wipe Active Files study released today by Blancco Technology Group.
The study, which surveyed over 400 IT professionals in the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, China and India, indicates just how challenging and complicated it can be to permanently erase data. When asked how they wipe files from company-owned laptops and desktop computers, 31 percent reported dragging individual files to the Recycle Bin and 22 percent said they reformat the entire drive. Combined, that represents over half (53 percent) of global IT professionals who are using two common, but ineffective methods to erase data.
Richard Stiennon, a former Gartner analyst and Chief Strategy Officer of Blancco Technology Group, cautions organizations against making such mistakes. "Over the last several years, we've worked with businesses in the finance, healthcare and government sectors to help them understand the need to permanently and verifiably erase data from IT equipment and devices. But while organizations may see the value of data removal when their equipment reaches end of life, they often overlook and dismiss the importance of erasing active files from desktop computers, laptops, external drives and servers. In doing so, they leave large volumes of sensitive, confidential and potentially compromising data exposed and vulnerable to loss or theft."
Key findings from the study include:
- The fear of losing intellectual property and login credentials is very real. 14 percent of IT professionals are most concerned with securing confidential product development materials, followed by company revenue statements (12 percent), customer contracts (11 percent), usernames and passwords to the company intranet (10 percent), and login credentials to company systems and portals (9 percent).
- It's easy to confuse deleting and erasing files. Over half (51 percent) of the respondents believe files are permanently gone when they empty the Recycle Bin on their desktop computers/laptops. Another 51 percent believe performing a quick format and/or full reformat of a computer's entire drive is sufficient.
- Storage and handling of IT equipment are more important than you think. 33 percent of IT professionals store non-functional desktop/laptop computers, external drives and servers in easily accessible, unsecured locations.
- Data retention policies need better oversight and enforcement. 30 percent of organizations don't have written data retention or removal policies in place.
- Data removal, historically overlooked or considered a lesser security threat, is inching up the list of IT security priorities. Over one-third (34 percent) of the respondents said data removal is high on their overall list of IT security priorities and 47 percent place it in the middle of their priority list.
Stiennon concludes, "With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, it's critical that data is safely erased when it's no longer needed, or when regulation demands its removal, as in the case of the EU GDPR. Only by controlling the metastasizing of data through secure data erasure, coupled with data retention policies, can organizations minimize the likelihood of data breaches."
About Blancco Technology Group
Blancco Technology Group is a leading, global provider of mobile device diagnostics and secure data erasure solutions. We help our clients' customers test, diagnose, repair and repurpose IT devices with the most proven and certified software. Our clientele consists of equipment manufacturers, mobile network operators, retailers, financial institutions, healthcare providers and government organizations worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alpharetta, GA, United States, with a distributed workforce and customer base across the globe.
Blancco, a division of Blancco Technology Group, is the global de facto standard in certified data erasure. We provide thousands of organizations with an absolute line of defense against costly security breaches, as well as verification of regulatory compliance through a 100% tamper-proof audit trail.
SmartChk, a division of Blancco Technology Group, is a global innovator in mobile asset diagnostics and business intelligence. We partner with our customers to improve their customers' experience by providing seamless solutions to test, diagnose and repair mobile assets. SmartChk provides world-class support, pre and post implementation, allowing our customers to derive measurable business results.
SHIFT Communications for Blancco Technology Group (US)
David Heffernan, Account Manager
T: (617) 779-1839
SAY Communications for Blancco Technology Group (Europe)
Robert Hickling, Senior Account Manager
T: 44 (0) 20 8971 6427
The Hoffman Agency for Blancco Technology Group (APAC)
Miyuki Washino, Senior Consultant
T: 81 3 5159 5750
Blancco Technology Group
Ragini Bhalla, Senior Director of Global Communications
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SOURCE Blancco Technology Group