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Concentric AI Report Shows Increase in Oversharing Sensitive Data

New data risk report quantifies ongoing impact of hybrid work policies, cloud migration, and information sprawl on data oversharing and security after analyzing 500TB of customer data.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

Concentric AI, a leading vendor of intelligent AI-based solutions for autonomous data security posture management (DSPM), has released its 2022 Data Risk Report, which highlights a continued rise in oversharing of business-critical and sensitive documents.

The report revealed the number of overshared files rose 60% in 2022 compared to 2021, highlighting the significant impact of hybrid remote work, cloud migration, and information sprawl across on-premises and cloud data, as well as email and messaging environments, on data security.

Using its Semantic Intelligence DSPM solution, Concentric AI captured user data in production deployments during 2022 from companies in the technology, financial, and healthcare sectors to reveal how organizations create, use, and manage data. The company leveraged findings from more than 500 TB of unstructured data scanned in real-world environments to discover business-critical and sensitive documents that are overshared via link sharing, inappropriate external sharing, internal permission misconfigurations, and incomplete/incorrect document classifications. Oversharing increases the risk an organization will lose data, violate compliance or privacy mandates, or experience cybercrime.

Statistics highlighted in the 2022 Data Risk Report reveal that organizations averaged 802,000 files at risk due to oversharing. That translates to 402 at-risk files per employee (up significantly from 251 files per employee in 2021). Link-based risky sharing was up to 100,000 documents per enterprise, up from 81,000 in 2021.

Concentric identifies and quantifies risk in both structured and unstructured data using deep learning. Its solution autonomously provides an accurate and detailed semantic understanding of the millions of contracts, financial documents, payroll, M&A plans, product road maps, and source code files used by organizations every day. Similar to previous Concentric AI Data Risk Reports, the 2022 report analyzed production data and reflects actual user practices and real-world data risk exposures.

Additional statistics in the 2022 report include:

  • Nearly 32% of unstructured data was business-critical -- that’s 500 million files in an average organization. Of those business-critical files, 16% could be seen by internal or external users who should not have access.
  • An average of 87,000 business-critical files were erroneously classified and inappropriately accessible by other employees per enterprise. To illustrate, nearly 25% of all unstructured data contained personally identifiable information (PII) and was not marked appropriately.
  • More than 35% of files processed were duplicates (15%) or near-duplicates (20%). Maintaining multiple variant copies of sensitive information (often with insecure file permissions, prohibited locations, or improper file classifications) can create legal and regulatory risks, as well as significant unnecessary storage costs.
  • Eighty-three percent of at-risk files were overshared with users or groups within the company; 17% of business-critical files were overshared with external third parties.
  • More than 52,000 documents were shared by employees with their personal email accounts.
  • Some 160,000 documents were shared with everyone in the company.

To compile the report, Concentric leveraged its Semantic Intelligence solution to autonomously categorize and assess documents created and managed by end users, providing a complete, detailed, and accurate view into how risks associated with oversharing are changing over time. The full 2022 report is available from Concentric AI free of charge at (no registration required)

“As enterprises deal with exponential growth in data and sensitive information sprawled across the enterprise on-premises and cloud environments, often accessed remotely, data remains a vulnerable threat surface for most enterprises,” said Karthik Krishnan, Concentric AI CEO. “As our 2022 Data Risk Report shows, unstructured data is still largely unseen, unexplored, and insecure, and is too often overshared inside and outside organizations.”

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