State Of Data Access Governance Report Shows Organizations Struggle with Data Security and Compliance

When adequately secured, expertly analyzed, and appropriately shared, enterprise data is a business accelerant. But as more data is created and stored, the potential attack surface grows – and companies struggle to adequately secure their critical data assets – leaving them exposed to greater risk.  

To help understand the current state of data access governance, SailPoint partnered with an external research firm to investigate how organizations are securing sensitive data assets and prioritizing risk across the organization. We heard from 300 security and IT professionals about their experiences, what’s working, what’s not, and what’s needed to protect sensitive data.    

So, what is the current state of data access governance – and how does your organization stack up against others when it comes to access risk?  

Here’s a snapshot of what we learned:  

Top challenge of managing access to critical enterprise data? Everything, everywhere, all at once 

Successfully managing access to sensitive data seems complicated for many organizations. They struggle with various challenges, chief among them understanding who should have access to which unstructured data resources. And it’s not just the basics of data access governance that they struggle with.  

The survey showed a near tie in the top seven challenges that organizations face, including unprecedented growth in the amount of unstructured data, difficulty knowing where unstructured data resides, challenges with appropriate governance, and lack of automation – among others.   

72% of organizations have overexposed sensitive data assets within the past two years  

While ensuring appropriate access to sensitive data is one of the top concerns of enterprises today, 72% of survey respondents reported their company had inappropriately granted access to sensitive. In other words, there’s a clear disconnect between most organization’s security goals and the reality of securing sensitive data information.  

When you consider that the average breach in 2023 was only identified after 204 days – the chance for significant harm to the business expands dramatically each day. 

The cost of failing to adequately secure sensitive data is both wide – and deep 

Across all survey respondents, 78% reported that a security issue has resulted from improper access. Drilling down a bit deeper, one-third of respondents cited reputation damage occurring as a result of providing inappropriate access to sensitive data.  

Among other harmful impacts, the top nine impacted roughly one-third of all respondents, including compromised intellectual property and seized resources. This suggests that not only are the risks severe, but they are also difficult to predict and can have long-term impacts far beyond the initial breach or unwarranted exposure.  

Organizations see a strategic opportunity in integrated data access governance  

In conversations with identity security customers, we often hear about the difficulty of managing multiple point solutions for complex security challenges, including securing access to sensitive data assets. Without an integrated solution, a disjoined approach to security can strain any existing organizational challenges. 

But there’s a bright spot in the data. As we’d expected, survey respondents highlighted several benefits of an integrated security solution including:  

  • 47% increased data security 
  • 45% increased visibility 
  • 42% improved compliance  
  • 41% time savings  
  • 38% reduced reporting effort 

However, the numbers only tell part of the story. There’s much more to learn about how your organization stacks up against others in the full report.

Want to learn more?  

Download the SailPoint report to: 

  • See how your organization compares to others in the industry  
  • Help your organization prioritize risks related to sensitive data access  
  • Understand the value of integrating data governance and identity security  

About the Author: Eric Zimmerman is a Product Marketing Manager at SailPoint, where he is focused on driving marketing strategy, enablement, and growth for the organization’s identity and data security offerings. Prior to joining SailPoint, Eric worked as a marketing director and consultant helping technology startups create differentiated messaging for accelerated growth. Eric holds a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.



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