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Data governance is the type of complex, time-consuming topic IT organizations historically avoid. However, with daily reports of data breaches spanning retail, banking, healthcare and other areas, there’s a lot at stake for companies who continue to avoid tackling the problem.

Last year, more unstructured content was generated by humans than structured content generated by machines. Between 38-59% of data loss and breaches are due to mostly avoidable human error that could be prevented with the right set of policies backed by software. These errors and breaches will cost companies $25B this coming year.

It’s a problem that is increasing exponentially. Up to 80% of storage capacity worldwide is used for bits and pieces of information that are generated and shared by humans. In corporation, this unstructured data is often stored across multiple repositories and consumed through a variety of business apps. But employees don’t care where it’s stored – they just care about being productive.

Even with sophisticated tools and expert teams, data governance remains messy at best and unmanaged at worst. Over time, organizations, regardless of industry, end up dealing with as many content silos as there are applications — think about your emails, voicemails, social media, desktop presentations, mobile photos etc.

Employees create their own digital workplace with a patchwork of highly specialized productivity solutions that each do one thing well (in theory, at least). But then they become increasingly frustrated with the time spent looking for information across all these solutions. If content creators can’t find the right content at the right time, how could we expect IT to protect the content and corporate intellectual property? This is the paradox of shadow IT: content stored across apps must be secured and protected by IT professionals not even in the know of many of the apps are used in the first place.

 

With Egnyte Protect, our new smart content governance solution, we’ve shifted the conversation from looking at which productivity app to block from accessing content across multiple repositories to intelligently protecting the content at the source so when users have the right to access it they can find it and use it no matter what app.

Since our founding, we have collected enough analytics on how content is being created, edited and consumed to have insights on an endless number of file services that we could offer. Our customers’ top concern is the risk for loss of intellectual property and we made it a priority to answer their need.  Egnyte Protect is an offering designed to identifies content at risk and apply adequate policies via a centralized simple cloud tool. It protects with any existing IT environment and leaves the user digital workplace untouched for business agility and productivity.

Information governance is the industry term for having clear processes for users and IT on the secure handling of content. Where can content be shared? How should it be shared? With whom? But information governance doesn’t include capabilities tools to enforce the process and check that policies are properly set at all time. Egnyte Protect addresses this, by following all corporate content end-to-end no matter where it resides (in the cloud or on-premises) and enforcing policies set up by IT, legal, or compliance. If rules are broken alerts are issued in real time allowing IT and users to take immediate action. It is non-intrusive for users and their content applications such as Egnyte Connect, SharePoint, or even non-Egnyte EFSS solutions.

Say an employee has access to a certain project folder in Sharepoint but not Egnyte Connect. There are two explanations: access was wrongly granted to him for this folder, and remove for SharePoint; or the employee has new responsibilities on this project and should be granted access on Egnyte as well. Either way, the key is to make sure the right people see the right content at the right time.

Some confidential information, for instance, should never be shared externally. A lot of information governance takes steps to train employees, but mistakes are human. Instead of sanctioning error, alerts should be set up to correct mistakes as soon as they happen. The first 24 hours are critical when a breach occurs and this is when most of the information is stolen.

Where are the Social Security Numbers, earnings data, and other confidential files stored? Who has access to them? IT should be able to answer these questions at all time and define specific rules for sensitive content access, as well as additional encryption, data residency policies and partner with legal, HR or compliance on who should access and modify it.

This is what we call content governance. The first milestone in this journey is Egnyte Protect, and the first step is access control, which will be made available to select customers in June.

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