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Depending on your outlook, the study could be suggesting half of businesses are doing ok with data security ... PHOTO: Kalyan Chakravarthy

The data protection practices of most businesses still leave something to be desired.

Washington D.C.-based Metalogix along with the Traverse City, Mich.-based Ponemon Institute published a new survey on how organizations are — or in many cases, aren't — protecting data found in file sharing and collaboration environments like SharePoint, Dropbox and other applications.

While Metalogix provides of security solutions for SharePoint (among other solutions), the results should serve as a wake-up call for companies using SharePoint.

"Handle with Care: Protecting Sensitive Data in Microsoft SharePoint, Collaboration Tools and File Share Applications," received responses from 1403 professionals from the US, UK and Germany who work in IT and IT security.

Poor Visibility, Poor Data Practices

The survey uncovered the following statistics:

  • In the past two years, 49 percent of respondents confirmed data breaches in the SharePoint environment
  • 79 percent didn't believe existing tools are ‘very effective’ at protecting sensitive content from accidental exposure
  • 68 percent said they don’t have sufficient visibility into locations where sensitive data is located
  • 59 percent said their organization isn’t very good at ensuring users interact with sensitive data in SharePoint data appropriately

"SharePoint houses a vast amount of sensitive data, but organizations are not taking sufficient steps to keep it safe. The pressure to be productive is causing employees to put sensitive data at risk. Security and SharePoint professionals must understand where this content resides and how it is accessed and shared," Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute said in a statement about the report.

The report adds that 63 percent of respondents thought the best way of protecting this data was by using data loss prevention (DLP) technologies.

To be most effective, respondents believe DLP tools must integrate with SharePoint, become easier to configure and reduce user frustration.

Facebook, Microsoft Partner for Sales Tracking

Advertisers looking to evaluate and score digital marketing initiatives more often than not depend on Excel to list and track ad performance, or at times, entire campaigns.

That's fine if you are working on single accounts and single campaigns, but not so easy when you have multiple accounts across multiple channels and multiple performance metrics.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft and Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook last week partnered to offer a new Excel 2016 add-in that will simplify exporting data and campaign reporting for Facebook Ads.

The Facebook Ads Manager for Excel (FAME) enables advertisers to run a single report made up of data downloaded from several ad accounts.

Users can even use FAME to create templates in Excel and download performance data into worksheets without any manual integration, while the refresh capabilities means those reports can be updated as soon as new data becomes available, or set for automatic updates as frequently as every 15 minutes.

While this may look like a small addition to the massive range of marketing technologies already offered by both Facebook and Microsoft, it shows the determination of two unlikely partners to dethrone Google from its status as top advertising platform.

According to Zenith’s quarterly Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, Alphabet/Google has increased its lead as the world’s largest media owner, with three times more advertising revenue than Facebook, which now ranks second.

Overall Facebook raked in $26.9 billion in advertising revenue, second only to Google's parent company Alphabet $79.4 billion and ahead of traditional media companies like Comcast.

The Facebook Ad Manager for Excel is free in the Microsoft Office Store and is compatible with Excel 2016.

Google Works on Phishing Problem

Google is gearing up for Google I/O, which gets underway on May 17. But that hasn’t stopped it from pushing out upgrades and fixes in the meantime.

Following the recent phishing attack which affected roughly one million Gmail accounts, the company introduced a new phishing guard for the Android version of Gmail, which checks links inside messages sent to Gmail accounts. If it looks like the link is pointing to a fake page, the guard issues a warning before the user clicks.

The changes are being rolled-out to G-Suite users and will require very little involvement by email administrators to incorporate the changes.

Given how embarrassing — rather than damaging — the recent phishing attack was for Google, and the ever-present possibility of far more serious attacks, it would be surprising not to hear more about this at I/O next week.

Lexmark Partners With Nuance

In partnership news this week, Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications has announced a new strategic partnership with Lexington, Ky.-based Lexmark, just a couple of weeks after Lexmark sold off its Kofax ECM interests to Thomas Bravo and Hyland.

As a result of the partnership, Lexmark will sell and distribute Nuance AutoStore, Equitrac Office/Express and SafeCom worldwide. Nuance will provide service and support to customers.

For Lexmark, partnering with Nuance underlines it commitment to enterprise-ready workflow solutions that enable organizations to make workflows more effective and secure.

Acellion Partners With PacketZoom

Finally this week, Palo Alto, Calif.-based content collaboration vendor Accellion and San Mateo, Calif.-based PacketZoom, which specializes in mobile application acceleration, have also announced a new development partnership.

The companies have agreed to work together to optimize performance models when sharing and editing large files in order to enhance the performance of the Accellion kiteworks mobile application.

With the growth in recent years of documents and content file sizes, files can now range from several megabytes to gigabytes in size, which creates major problems for those trying to use those files on mobile devices.

As a result of the partnership, Accellion and PacketZoom are currently testing PacketZoom’s Mobile Expresslane solution, which should double download speeds for kiteworks mobile application users.