Report: Sensitive Data Sharing Increases 60 Percent Over the Past Year

Report: Sensitive Data Sharing Increases 60 Percent Over the Past Year

Concentric AI, a vendor of intelligent AI-based solutions for autonomous data security posture management (DSPM), recently announced the availability of its 2022 Data Risk Report, which highlights a continued rise in oversharing of business-critical and sensitive documents. The report revealed the number of overshared files rose 60 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, highlighting the significant impact of hybrid remote work, cloud migration and information sprawl across on-premises and cloud data, as well as email and messaging environments, on data security.

Using its Semantic Intelligence DSPM solution, Concentric AI captured user data in production deployments during 2022 from companies in the technology, financial and healthcare sectors to reveal how organizations create, use and manage data. The company leveraged findings from more than 500 TB of unstructured data scanned in real-world environments to discover business-critical and sensitive documents that are overshared via link sharing, inappropriate external sharing, internal permission misconfigurations, and incomplete/incorrect document classifications. Oversharing increases the risk an organization will lose data, violate compliance or privacy mandates, or experience cybercrime.

Statistics highlighted in the 2022 Data Risk Report reveal that organizations averaged 802,000 files at-risk due to oversharing. That translates to 402 at-risk files per employee (up significantly from 251 files per employee in 2021, a 60-percent increase). Link-based risky sharing was up to 100,000 documents per enterprise, up from 81,000 in 2021.

Concentric is the first company to identify and quantify risk in both structured and unstructured data using deep learning. Its solution autonomously provides an accurate and detailed semantic understanding of the millions of contracts, financial documents, payroll, M&A plans, product roadmaps, and source code files used by organizations every day. Similar to previous Concentric AI Data Risk Reports, this new 2022 report analyzed production data and reflects actual user practices and real-world data risk exposures. Additional statistics in the 2022 report include:

  • Nearly 32 percent of unstructured data was business-critical – that’s 500 million files in an average organization. Of those business-critical files, 16 percent could be seen by internal or external users who should not have access.
  • 87,000 business-critical files were erroneously classified and inappropriately accessible by other employees on average per enterprise. To illustrate, nearly 25 percent of all unstructured data contained personally identifiable information (PII) and was not marked appropriately.
  • More than 35 percent of files processed were duplicates (15 percent) or near-duplicates (20 percent). Maintaining multiple variant copies of sensitive information (often with insecure file permissions, prohibited locations, or improper file classifications) can create legal and regulatory risks, as well as significant unnecessary storage costs.
  • 83 percent of at-risk files were overshared with users or groups within the company, while 17 percent of business-critical files were overshared with external third parties.
  • More than 52,000 documents were shared by employees with their personal email accounts.
  • 160,000 documents were shared with everyone in the company.

To compile the report, Concentric leveraged its Semantic Intelligence solution to autonomously categorize and assess documents created and managed by end users. The result is the industry’s most complete, detailed and accurate view into how risks associated with oversharing are changing over time. The full 2022 report is available here.

“As enterprises deal with exponential growth in data and sensitive information sprawled across the enterprise on-premises and cloud environments, often accessed remotely, data remains a vulnerable threat surface for most enterprises,” said Karthik Krishnan, Concentric AI CEO. “As our 2022 Data Risk Report shows, unstructured data is still largely unseen, unexplored and insecure, and is too often overshared inside and outside organizations. This educational report for the industry demonstrates the power of Concentric AI’s advanced deep-learning technology to solve the ongoing challenges of unstructured and structured data security – both in the cloud and on premises. Our Semantic Intelligence solution autonomously delivers the data risk insights enterprises need to help employees work productively – remotely or in the office – without sacrificing security.”

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