European companies face data security challenges amidst rising cyberattacks


A study has found 29% of European organisations face significant challenges in fully utilising data due to concerns surrounding data security.

The study showcases an emerging data security “gap” as organisations grapple with increasingly intricate IT and data landscapes. The issue is exacerbated by a rise in cyber attacks in the region; 58% of UK organisations reported an increase in cyber attacks in the past year, followed by 49% in the DACH region and 47% in the Nordics.

Data security is swiftly climbing to the top of the CEO’s agenda, with 45% of organisations planning to focus their spending on data security, risk, and compliance. This move aims to facilitate trustworthy data sharing and collaboration. Following this are investments in workplace solutions at 36%, application development and deployment platforms at 35%, and infrastructure and operations at 33%.

A lack of confidence in dealing with ‘shadow data,’ data sprawl in the cloud, was noted among European businesses. Only 42% expressed confidence in their ability to discover and classify sensitive data in the public cloud. Furthermore, evolving privacy laws are causing a tension between digital innovation and data sovereignty. A mere 15% of European organisations are highly confident in their capabilities to discover and classify sensitive data to protect it.

In the UK, working from home and hybrid work models emerged as the top operational security priority for 2023. As many as 56% of UK organisations are planning to expand or upgrade technology related to data access and governance in the next 12 months.

Colin Mitchell, General Manager at Immuta – the firm who conducted the study – commented, “Data is a critical asset for organisations, enabling collaboration, innovation and informing decisions. However, as data usage increases, businesses need to manage unauthorised access, breaches and misuse. This creates a complex dynamic between data utility — the usefulness and accessibility of data — and the security and compliance measures in place to protect data from risks.”

Looking ahead, almost half (49%) of all respondents working in security are planning to expand or upgrade their data access controls in the next year. Additionally, 32% of European organisations intend to increase spending on data discovery and classification to address these challenges.

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