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Five Data Privacy Challenges in the Cloud

Organizations are producing data at record speed: It’s estimated that by 2025, worldwide data will grow to 175 zettabytes. Maintaining the right level of visibility and control over this data should be a top priority for all organizations across the globe. But doing so is often a major challenge. Why?

Widespread cloud usage, fast-growing data volumes, hundreds of scratch-built applications, and the use of various consumer devices leave IT and security decision-makers without a clear or accurate view of who inside their organization has access to their data. This is a major problem when it comes to ensuring security and privacy.

According to new research from Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Virtru, more than 90% of organizations store data in the cloud. And 84% have multi-cloud environments, using four or more cloud providers at once. Further, many are using an average of 78 different cloud-based applications every week and yet, IT security professionals are only aware of 38.4% of the applications known to IT administrators. 

The stark reality is, IT and security teams often don’t have a full view of the data moving in and out of their organization, which means they also lack the information needed to protect it against threats—both internal and external. In fact, according to cross-industry research, more than 70% of employees have access to data they shouldn’t. 

It’s equally important to note that unauthorized access also extends to external third-parties—including cloud providers. On average, about 23% of the data stored in the cloud is accessible to third-party cloud providers. So, where does this leave you? How can you prevent unauthorized access and ensure this data remains private?

Top Data Privacy Challenges

If you’re worried about keeping your data private in the cloud, you’re not alone. After interviewing 700 IT and business decision-makers, two major concerns emerged regarding data privacy and security in the cloud: Managing data across multi-cloud environments and storing data without the correct level of encryption. If you’re curious what else topped the list, here’s the breakdown:

  1. 41%: Managing data across a multi-cloud environment.
  2. 38%: Storing data without the correct level of encryption.
  3. 24%: Shadow IT from other departments within the organization. 
  4. 22%: The cloud environment doesn’t meet the regulatory standards of the industry.
  5. 16%: A lack of understanding of the security protocols being used by cloud providers.

All of these challenges leave organizations at risk of suffering a data breach or incurring costly penalties for non-compliance. So, it’s no wonder that organizations are often hesitant to take the first step in a digital transformation and begin migrating data to the cloud. 

But, with the proper protections in place, a successful digital transformation can accelerate innovation and create growth opportunities. In fact, 46% of organizations are increasingly putting more business data into the cloud.

Data Protection Checklist

If you’re wondering how to balance IT security priorities, move data and workloads into the cloud, and keep business operations running—all while maintaining consistent data privacy and security—the answer lies in data-centric protection and granular access controls and visibility over who has accessed your data and when. Look for a vendor that provides:

  • Consistent policy enforcement across disparate environments.
  • Persistent control as data is shared.
  • Granular visibility into who has accessed data in the cloud (and when).
  • Zero-trust architecture.
  • An easy user experience.

Virtru provides the data-centric protection that organizations need to encrypt sensitive data and share it securely. With Virtru, implementing an encryption solution is simple and hassle-free, integrating directly with your existing cloud-based applications and providing seamless protection. It’s also easy to adopt, ensuring that the security will be fully implemented throughout your organization.

For more information about secure data sharing in the cloud, including behavioral trends and risks, download our latest infographic, or explore the full report.

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