Efficient Plant May 2019 - 6

column | editorial

Start with
Files and
Folders
Gary L. Parr
Editorial Director

How many of your
networks files and
folders are accessible by others and
how many contain
stale data that
should be deleted?

6

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

M

Y GREATEST cybersecurity
concern involves small- and midsized operations. Many of those
companies have limited to no cybersecurity
programs, primarily because they don't have
resources to address the persistent effort that
effective programs require. But the biggest
reason is that decision makers may not think
such companies are large enough to be hacking targets.
Since data protection for smaller operations
is often on my mind, I'm sensitive whenever
information that could help those companies
enters by inbox. One such item that showed up
recently was not only eye-opening, it was applicable to companies of all sizes. It was the "2019
Global Data Risk Report" from Varonis, a data
security and analytics firm located in New York
City (download the report at varonis.com).
Typically, those types of research reports
look at edge-computing vulnerabilities, patching programs, cloud-system security, and other
related facets of networks. Not this
one: The Varonis people studied
lowly files and folders and who has
access to them.
For the report, the researchers
analyzed more than 30 industries in 30
countries, performing risk assessments
on 785 organizations. (The 2019 report
involved 53.8-billion files; the 2018 report
involved a mere 6.2-billion.) Here are
some of the findings:
 53% of companies had more than
1,000 sensitive files accessible to every employee, a 41% increase from 2018
 51% had more than 100,000 folders open to
every employee
 15% had more than a million folders open to
every employee
 22% of all folders were open to every
employee
 the average company owns 534,465
sensitive files

 17% of all sensitive files are accessible by
every employee.
The overall message I took from this report is
that there are a lot of hard drives in the world in
need of some serious housekeeping, and those
data dust bunnies contain plenty of valuable
company and personal information anyone can
get to with minimal effort.

STALE DATA
Another area of the report that jumped out
is the issue of stale data, i.e., information
no longer used or needed to do business.
That section of the report led me to take
a tour through my own hard drives. I was
rather surprised at how many stale fi les and
folders had accumulated and could easily be
deleted. A disturbing number required a little
investigation just to remember what they
were. I can't imagine what that's like across a
manufacturing enterprise. For my computer,
it's nothing more than a bunch of recoverable
storage space. But, for an industrial plant or
facility, forgotten fi les likely contain information that could make it possible to piece
together an attack on network data that is
active and matters. From the report:
 58% of all companies have more than 1,000
stale user accounts (active but no longer needed
for business)
 53% of all data was stale
 87% have more than 1,000 accessible, stale,
sensitive files
 72% of companyfolders contain stale data
 95% of companies found more than 100,000
folders that contained stale data.
One last item: 38% of all users sampled have
a password that never expires. Put another way,
61% of companies have more than 500 users
with passwords that never expire. When I clean
out my hard drives this weekend, I'll also be
changing mine from my pet's name to something a bit more secure. EP
gparr@efficientplantmag.com

MAY 2019


http://www.varonis.com http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Efficient Plant May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant May 2019

Efficient Plant May 2019 - Cover1
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