(Image credit/pixabay/453169)A new report from Oracle says less than 40% of companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are confident they can master their data. Mastering data entails managing, securing and gaining insight from data, and use it responsibly. Capabilities in these four areas aren’t projected to increase in the next three years, according to the Oracle study, ‘Rediscovering trust in your data and security‘. This is despite respondents recognising the value of achieving excellence in these areas. The top three benefits being cited as increased customer loyalty, revenue and brand value.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Andrew Sutherland)
Andrew Sutherland, Senior VP, Technology and Systems, Oracle APAC, EMEA.

We know that being able to leverage data gives immense business benefit. It gives a lead others find hard to diminish,” said Andrew Sutherland, Senior VP, Technology and Systems, Oracle APAC, EMEA.

But these findings suggest that organisations are still being overwhelmed by the data deluge faced. Companies need to tackle the problem head on. This will come from better internal practices and putting data management strategies and enhanced security controls in place. Additionally, the prudent use of cloud and emerging technologies like AI and automation will also be key. We are hitting that tipping point where the data and security challenge is becoming just too big for humans alone.”

Key findings:

  • On average 42% of respondents do not have a data management strategy in place.
  • Only 4 in 10 are highly confident in their ability to manage, secure data and use their data responsibly.
  • Only 35% are highly confident they can manage data to generate meaningful insights.
  • Key departments are still not accepting both accountability and responsibility for data management.
  • Data security protocols are often not understood, or abided by.

Collective effort needed for data

When it comes to looking at who is accountable for securing data, there seems to be confusion about who is meant to take the lead. For example, nearly half of all finance and IT decision-makers say they are accountable for securing data within their organisation. However, only a third of those who typically use data – marketing and HR – revealed they take accountability.

Mind the gap

The secure management of data is very important to reputational risk, according to 53% of EMEA leaders. Despite this, the study shows there are many key internal behaviours that compromise trust. Among these are:

  • The biggest concern (25%) around data security inside the organisation is low attention to data confidentiality.
  • Weak controls on who can access data (24%).
  • A willingness to manage data through mobile devices or social platforms (23%).
  • Use of untrusted devices and connections (23%).

In addition one fifth of respondents (22%) list the top three behaviours compromising their trust in how data is managed as:

  1. Blindness on how data is supposed to be used.
  2. The misuse of critical data.
  3. Disregard for applicable data regulations.

Driving change

There are several steps that can counter these behavioural issues. Those with data management strategies in place:

  • are 8% more likely to use password protected documents
  • 10% more likely to have access to secure on-premises databases
  • 9% more likely to use data on trusted devices.

The survey revealed a number of key data and security priorities companies have for the year ahead along with actions being taken to promote the responsible use of data. Among these are enforcing better controls and procedures and the use of training and workshops to mix people from different lines of business together ranked highly.

Organisations are also turning to technologies companies for help across the spectrum of data mastery including:

  • Accelerating the move to cloud for enhanced security performance (30%).
  • Turning to AI and machine learning to drive actionable insights from data (26%).
  • Machine learning capabilities to self-patch and secure data (25%).

About the Report

The report is based on a mobile-only, 23-question global survey. The respondents represented executives from the Manager, Director, Vice-President and C-Level positions with influence in the decision-making process of cloud solutions, platforms and infrastructure or department specific software.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

There are some serious surprises with this report from Oracle. Only 4 in 10 are highly confident in their ability to manage, secure and use their data responsibly. This should be seriously worrying for all operational managers in any businesses. Data is increasingly being seen as the life blood, the key intellectual property, any business possess. The fact that 60% of EMEA organisations are not confident in their ability to effectively should be a major concern.

Data security protocols are not understood or, more worryingly, not abided by. One-quarter of respondents say that their biggest concerns around data security across the organisation is blindness about how data is supposed to be used, internal disregard about the application of data regulations and, most concerning, the failure to enforce company security policies.

Yesterday, British Airways was hit by a record fine of £183 million (US$235m) by the ICO. The airline suffered a serious data breach last year, telling customers it had lost personal and payment details including the CVV code from payment cards. British Airways misfortune should be a major wake up call for all organisations responsible for acquiring, managing and securing data. Failure to look after data, could result in financial penalties and negative impact on your brand and business.


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