Breach, TDR

Gov’t executives cite unstructured data as top concern

November 18, 2009
More than cloud computing, mobile devices and Web 2.0 applications, unstructured data is the cyberthreat  federal government IT executives are most worried about, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Ponemon Institute and IT management software and solutions vendor CA.

In the survey of 217 senior IT executives from U.S. federal organizations, 79 percent said unstructured data – information not contained in databases – increases their organization's security risk. Unstructured data includes email and Word documents.

The common use of collaboration tools, such as SharePoint, also has caused an increase in the amount of stored unstructured data, which may contain confidential or sensitive information that is not always adequately safeguarded, Tim Brown, vice president and chief architect for security management at CA, told SCMagazineUS.com on Wednesday.

“They are worried that more data is being produced, more data is being shared and that data is not under the same control mechanisms they have had in the past,” he said.

Besides unstructured data, more than half of respondents were concerned about threats such as cyberterrorism, mobile devices, and Web 2.0 applications, the survey found. Seventy-one percent said the threat of cyberterrorism, defined as attacks intended to disrupt or harm a country or region, is on the rise.

In addition, 63 percent of respondents said mobile devices are a significant risk, and 52 percent said Web 2.0 applications contribute to the leakage of confidential or sensitive information and make an organization more susceptible to malware.

Cloud computing, on the other hand, garnered concern from 39 percent of respondents, the survey found. Brown said that as more agencies begin to implement on-demand technologies, he would expect cloud computing to worry more federal government IT executives.


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