DETROIT and TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A survey released today by Compuware Corporation (Nasdaq: CPWR) and the Ponemon Institute showed an overwhelming majority of organizations surveyed risk compromising critical information by using actual customer data for the development and testing of applications.
The Insecurity of Test Data: The Unseen Crisis report found that 62 percent of companies surveyed use actual customer data instead of disguised data to test applications during the development process. Of those companies using actual customer data, 89 percent use customer files and 74 percent use customer lists. Examples of the live data often used include employee records, vendor records, customer account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other credit, debit or payment information.
While organizations may think that test data is immune from privacy threats because testing occurs in a non-production environment, these environments are less secure than production environments. Testing data may be exposed to a variety of unauthorized sources including in-house testing staff, consultants, partners and offshore personnel. In fact, 52 percent of respondents outsourced their application testing, and 49 percent of those respondents shared live data with the outsourced organization.
"For many organizations, large customer data files represent an easy, cheap source of data to use when testing applications, but this process introduces a huge element of risk to the challenge of maintaining the integrity of sensitive information, particularly when third parties and offshore resources are involved," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder, Ponemon Institute. "This study points to a need for greater awareness and accountability over how sensitive data is used within organizations. Common practices as they relate to all uses of live data must be evaluated to assess risk, and safeguards implemented to ensure data security."
The Insecurity of Test Data: The Unseen Crisis found that half of the companies using actual customer data for testing purposes do not take steps to protect that information. Other significant findings included:
-- 50 percent of respondents have no way of knowing if the data used in testing had been compromised. -- 41 percent of respondents reported they do not protect live data used in software development. -- 38 percent of respondents were unsure if live data their organization used for testing or development had been lost or stolen. -- 26 percent of respondents said they did not know who was responsible for securing test data, 26 percent believed the development organization was responsible and 21 percent said the testing organization was responsible, suggesting no clear ownership for sensitive test data.
"Few people realize how much is at risk during the development and testing of applications," said John Williams, Senior Vice President, Product Solutions, Compuware. "All commercial organizations -- not just health care and financial institutions -- have an obligation to protect the privacy of consumer data. To eliminate the test data security risk, an increasing number of our clients are using our Test Data Privacy solution that provides them with an automated, repeatable process for creating safe and effective test data."
The Insecurity of Test Data: The Unseen Crisis study, conducted between July 2007 and August 2007, used a proprietary web-based survey platform with the results derived from the responses of 897 IT professionals with an average of ten years experience. The survey was commissioned by Compuware Corporation and fielded by the Ponemon Institute.
To obtain the white paper, The Insecurity of Test Data: The Unseen Crisis, that summarizes the survey findings and provides a thorough discussion of the implications of these results, please go to www.compuware.com/dataprivacypaper .
Compuware Corporation maximizes the value IT brings to the business by helping CIOs more effectively manage the business of IT. Compuware solutions accelerate the development, improve the quality and enhance the performance of critical business systems while enabling CIOs to align and govern the entire IT portfolio, increasing efficiency, cost control and employee productivity throughout the IT organization. Founded in 1973, Compuware serves the world's leading IT organizations, including more than 90 percent of the Fortune 100 companies. Learn more about Compuware at http://www.compuware.com .
About the Ponemon Institute
The Ponemon Institute© is dedicated to advancing responsible information and privacy management practices in business and government. To achieve this objective, the Institute conducts independent research, educates leaders from the private and public sectors and verifies the privacy and data protection practices of organizations in a variety of industries. Visit the Ponemon Institute at www.ponemon.org for more information.
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