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Commercial Funding Shortfall Leaves Database Security Lacking

Application Security : 10 February, 2011  (Technical Article)
Joint report co-authored by Application Security finds there is a lack of funding and support for IT organisations wanting to improve database security
Application Security, Unisphere Research and the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) announced their 2011 Data Security report, “Managing Information in Insecure Times.” The study polled 430 OAUG members, and the statistics reveal that organizations lack a sense of urgency for securing critical data. The report found that the greatest challenges to securing application and data environments are primarily organizational and budget related. Fifty-three percent of respondents stated that budget was the greatest impediment holding back information security efforts. Thirty-three percent claimed a lack of an understanding of the threats prevents them from rallying support for countermeasures. And more than one-fourth of respondents cited a disconnect between IT teams and executive management as a major impediment to implementing proper security measures.

During a period when the proliferation of cloud computing is increasing, the report found that forty-five percent of the respondents see some risk in the rise of “private cloud” computing and were concerned about the security implications of sharing data and application services outside of their business units. While cloud computing continues to be a growing industry trend, three out of four have not defined a strategy for cloud security.

"Private cloud computing, by its very nature, crosses enterprise departmental boundaries,” said Joe McKendrick, Lead Analyst for Unisphere Research. “While it is perceived as safer than public cloud computing, private cloud also introduces new information security risks. The survey confirms that sensitive data is handled across many parts of organizations – from development shops to backup sites – without safeguards such as data encryption, masking and de-identification. Private cloud may exacerbate this risk."

Adding to the risk, a large segment of companies rely on third parties external to the organization’s firewall to help manage application and data environments. Nearly forty percent respondents indicate that they outsource or offshore at least some of their database and application administration functions.

The study found that forty-three percent of the respondents were most-concerned with passing compliance audits, however, only fifty-six percent have successfully passed audits most or all of the time, while thirty-six percent are unsure on their standing.

"This OAUG ResearchLine report points to a troubling lack of awareness and funding support by management toward application and data security. The OAUG is committed to raising awareness throughout the enterprise of the serious vulnerabilities that currently exist and encouraging action that treats security as a required strategic investment,” said OAUG President Mark C. Clark. “A careful reading of the findings in this report is a good first step toward closing the gap in awareness that exists between IT departments and managers who will ultimately be held accountable when data security is breached.”

“The study highlights a serious lack of understanding and concern for data and application security in today’s organizations,” said Thom VanHorn, Vice President Global Marketing, AppSec. “Given the increased number of threats and the acceleration of database attacks, the failure of organizations to support and implement proactive data security measures is a formula for disaster.”

Additional key findings:

    * 91% are unsure of the costs associated with data breaches

    * 48% declared that human error is the greatest challenge to information security, followed by a tie for second place (30%) between insider threats and accidental loss of storage media device

    * 14% of respondents are deploying databases in the cloud

    * 53% stated that budget was the greatest impediment holding back information security efforts, while 33% claimed a lack of understanding of the threats

    * 43% believe that they will see a better alignment between business IT security, and IT operations because of compliance while 38% anticipate improved accuracy and security of its organization’s financial reporting data

    * SOX, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS are the key compliance initiatives being addressed by respondents, respectively.

    * 78% conduct periodic compliance audits

    * 55% Monitor Production Databases for Security Issues, with 31% taking advantage of automated tools
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