Unchecked data growth and disorganization increases cyber risk, according to Egnyte's 2021 Data Governance Trends Report. The report is based on a survey of 400 IT executives conducted in July 2021 and examines the challenges of securing and governing unstructured content in today’s hybrid and remote work environments.

A key finding of the research is that unchecked data growth, combined with a lack of visibility, is increasing the risk of breaches, ransomware and compliance violations dramatically. More than half of companies (52%) use more than ten sanctioned file storage repositories, and 40% report unsanctioned cloud storage in use across the organization, as well as rampant use of informal repositories like email, Slack and DocuSign.

With companies continuing to see their data expand, six major trends emerged in the 2021 Data Governance Trends report:

  • Remote work remains a reality: 88% said employees will work remotely at least some of the time throughout 2022.
  • Data breaches are a top-of-mind risk: When asked to rank potential risks of unstructured data growth, 41% of IT leaders named data breaches the largest risk, followed by the organizational problems posed by dark data.
  • Ransomware is in the spotlight: Ransomware is now the top security concern for larger companies (1,000+ employees). 25% of all IT leaders say this is their biggest worry.
  • The impact of ransomware divides IT leaders: Concerns about being locked out of company data is nearly matched by worries over data being publicly exposed.
  • The future of artificial intelligence (AI) in security is unclear: Almost all respondents (99%) plan to implement AI applications within the next year, however more than two-thirds of respondents say leadership isn't ready to fully commit to AI.

Read the full Data Governance Trends report here.