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High insights and greatest practices from the brand new Microsoft Information Safety Index report


A whopping 74 p.c of organizations just lately surveyed skilled not less than one knowledge safety incident with their enterprise knowledge uncovered within the earlier 12 months. That’s simply considered one of our attention-grabbing insights from Microsoft’s new Information Safety Index: Developments, insights, and techniques to safe knowledge report, launched right this moment.  

Information safety is a cornerstone of efficient cybersecurity packages. Notably, of the safety decision-makers we spoke to, the overwhelming majority (89 p.c) contemplate their knowledge safety posture essential to their total success in defending their knowledge. Safeguarding delicate data, spanning from worker and buyer knowledge to mental property, monetary projections, and operational data, towards an array of cyberthreats, knowledge breaches, and insider dangers, is a high precedence for these organizations.

Each chief data safety officer (CISO) I’ve spoken with has shared a frightening knowledge safety expertise and expressed a need to discover the very best practices and technological improvements that may assist them overcome these challenges. At Microsoft, we’re eager to assist organizations navigate the complexity of knowledge safety and implement efficient complete methods for strengthening their knowledge safety posture.

To facilitate this dialogue and study extra from our clients and friends, we partnered with the unbiased analysis company Speculation Group to conduct a multinational survey involving greater than 800 knowledge safety professionals. Our collaborative effort has resulted within the publication of the Information Safety Index report, designed to supply helpful insights into present knowledge safety practices and developments. Furthermore, it goals to establish sensible alternatives for organizations to boost their knowledge safety efforts.

On this weblog put up, I’ll dive into a few of the key findings from the report, together with:

  • Information safety incidents stay frequent.
  • Vulnerabilities manifest in numerous dimensions attributable to a various set of things.
  • How a fragmented resolution panorama can weaken a company’s knowledge safety posture.
Three security experts looking at a computer.

Information Safety Index

Microsoft commissioned a multinational survey of greater than 800 safety professionals to establish present knowledge safety developments and greatest practices.

Information safety incidents stay frequent

Information safety incidents proceed to happen regularly with a median of 59 incidents occurring prior to now 12 months, 20 p.c thought of extreme, leading to potential annual prices of as much as USD15 million.

Whereas decision-makers are trying to make the very best use of the instruments they at present make use of, it’s not sufficient to mitigate the continued frequency of knowledge safety incidents.

I can’t go inform my board of administrators “I secured the info, I simply didn’t defend it”… the very last thing we need to see is our financial institution failing to ship on the entrance web page of the Wall Avenue Journal.

—Chief data safety officer within the monetary providers {industry}

Vulnerabilities manifest in numerous dimensions attributable to a various set of things

One of many main causes knowledge safety incidents happen extra generally than desired is the increasing variety and complexity of dangers related to knowledge. These embody a wide range of elements such because the causes of the incidents, the necessity to safeguard various kinds of knowledge and the challenges introduced by knowledge processed and saved throughout numerous areas and workloads.

Amongst all causes of knowledge safety incidents, decision-makers expressed their least preparedness in stopping malware, ransomware assaults, and malicious insider incidents. When contemplating the sorts of delicate knowledge susceptible to publicity—enterprise knowledge, similar to mental property, is at a better danger in comparison with operational and private knowledge. Moreover, as cloud and AI turn into crucial for organizations to drive digital transformation—safety groups must take care of the complexities of defending knowledge throughout a wide range of areas and software varieties.

Graph showing the top three data security concerns across causes of incidents, types of sensitive data, and data locations and workloads.

A fragmented resolution panorama can weaken knowledge safety posture

How can organizations successfully navigate the multifaceted panorama of knowledge safety dangers? Typically, numerous use instances inside completely different features of knowledge safety efforts might necessitate the adoption of distinct options. Within the bodily realm, including extra locks to a door usually enhances safety. Nonetheless, within the context of cybersecurity instruments designed to safeguard knowledge, the scenario is kind of the alternative. Organizations using greater than 16 instruments to safe knowledge face a staggering 2.8 occasions extra knowledge safety incidents in comparison with those that use fewer instruments. Furthermore, the severity of those incidents tends to be larger as properly.

For every instrument a company adopts, it necessitates devoted employees and processes, primarily as a result of every vendor offers its distinct portal with various technological foundations. Take knowledge classification for instance; when organizations use siloed options, every resolution may need its personal classification service, leading to knowledge being categorized a number of occasions based mostly on particular use instances.

The proliferation of instruments additionally results in a rise within the variety of alerts, and at occasions, these alerts could also be duplicated, creating extra noise within the system. Based on the report, organizations utilizing a larger variety of instruments obtain greater than double the amount of alerts in comparison with these with fewer instruments. Nonetheless, they’ll solely evaluate a smaller proportion of those alerts.

Now, think about a situation the place an incident happens—every administrator of every instrument should provoke their very own investigations inside their respective areas of experience. Subsequently, they convene to deduplicate alerts, correlate insights, and decide the character of the incident. Sadly, insights might sometimes get misplaced in translation as a result of they originate from disparate methods, finally leading to longer time to conclude an investigation.

Table showing that organizations adopting higher volume of tools have worse data security posture.

Determination-makers appear to have the right instinct about this, with 80 p.c agreeing {that a} complete knowledge safety platform with built-in options is superior to a number of and disjointed level options. Regardless of this understanding, sensible implementation stays fragmented, as organizations on common, nonetheless make the most of greater than 10 completely different instruments to handle knowledge safety.

Breaking this inertia to raised defend knowledge requires sturdy collaboration amongst safety groups, prioritizing the general knowledge safety posture of the group over particular person and departmental safety use instances. It additionally requires better-integrated options to convey this collaborative way of living.

Fortifying knowledge safety with built-in options

An built-in knowledge safety resolution set ought to empower safety groups to do all these essential duties seamlessly:

  • Robotically uncover, classify, and defend your delicate knowledge all through its lifecycle by leveraging a unified and clever knowledge classification service. Detecting delicate knowledge, similar to mental property and commerce secrets and techniques, may be difficult. Conventional strategies like sample recognition, common expressions, or perform matching might fall quick in figuring out content material with out particular string codecs or key phrases. By harnessing a single AI-powered classification service, you’ll be able to classify your knowledge as soon as, and this classification may be utilized throughout a number of options, facilitating safe and compliant knowledge use.
  • Perceive consumer and knowledge utilization context and establish dangers round your delicate knowledge, similar to mental property theft and knowledge leakage. Information doesn’t transfer itself, individuals transfer knowledge and that’s the place the dangers stem from. Organizations want options that may assist parse by means of each content material and consumer alerts to detect essential knowledge safety dangers earlier than they evolve into incidents.
  • Proactively forestall knowledge safety incidents with safety and compliance controls constructed into the cloud apps, providers, and gadgets customers use daily. Options that natively combine along with your fashionable work atmosphere can successfully educate, affect, and forestall customers from inflicting unintentional or intentional knowledge safety incidents.
  • Tailor safety and compliance controls based mostly on consumer’s danger stage dynamically. The entire aforementioned capabilities ought to seamlessly combine with one another to help organizations in establishing adaptive safety. For instance, safety groups can dynamically apply strict knowledge loss prevention insurance policies on customers assessed as excessive dangers for potential knowledge safety incidents, accelerating incident response and mitigating rising dangers proactively.

Enabling safety groups to do all these essential duties seamlessly has been the first focus for Microsoft Purview. These options leverage the identical industry-leading,1 AI-powered knowledge classification know-how, knowledge map, in depth audit logs and alerts, and administration expertise. Consequently, the info safety options seamlessly combine with one another, aiding organizations in defending their knowledge with decrease complexity and higher outcomes.

To provide you a real-world instance, we dissected a company espionage incident impressed by a real story to display how taking an built-in strategy might help detect and forestall such incidents which will in any other case have gone unnoticed.

Be taught if different professionals’ experiences match yours—and about complete safety from Microsoft

Discover Information Safety Index: Developments, insights, and techniques to safe knowledge to study greatest practices and really helpful methods based mostly on knowledge safety professionals’ expertise, and take heed to the podcast episode “Unveil Information Safety Paradoxes” on Uncovering Hidden Dangers, the place I share deeper insights on why an built-in set of options might help improve safety.​ To study extra, you can also:

  • Watch our collection of movies, introducing and demonstrating Microsoft Purview Info Safety, Insider Threat Administration, Information Loss Prevention, and Adaptive Safety.
  • Strive our E5 Purview trial in case you are a company utilizing Microsoft 365 E3 and need to see knowledge safety options in Microsoft Purview in motion for your self.
  • Take a look at our Cybersecurity Consciousness Month web site for extra methods to teach and defend your organizations towards cyber threats.

To study extra about Microsoft Safety options, go to our web site. Bookmark the Safety weblog to maintain up with our professional protection on safety issues. Additionally, observe us on LinkedIn (Microsoft Safety) and X (previously generally known as “Twitter”) (@MSFTSecurity) for the newest information and updates on cybersecurity.


1Microsoft acknowledged as a Chief in The Forrester Wave™: Information Safety Platforms, Q1 2023, Rudra Mitra. March 22, 2023.



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