Survey: Firms prioritizing data security over business-boosting analysis

Over the first 6 months of 2014, the FBI, cybersecurity monitors and others have criticized pharma's data defense practices. Yet now drugmakers--along with their peers in other industries--are being taken to task for focusing heavily on preventing information breaches instead of trying to tap databases to boost their businesses.

Data management firm Iron Mountain made the comment after working with PwC to poll 1,800 managers at companies of varying sizes across multiple industries in Europe and North America. The headline conclusion was that firms must do more with their data. Just 4% of North American respondents have used data to boost product development cycles, while half of polled European companies have tapped information to aid innovation. The low numbers are perhaps a reflection of companies placing greater emphasis on data security than analysis.

Respondents listed avoiding data breaches and legal action for noncompliance as their top priorities, an understandable decision given the risks but one the report's authors think might mean companies are missing opportunities to accelerate development and access new markets. "No organization would willingly turn down such an opportunity for competitive advantage, which suggests that the problem lies in not knowing how to achieve it," Christian Toon, head of information risk at Iron Mountain, said in a statement.

The criticism applies to multiple industries, not just biopharma. And drugmakers were actually singled out for praise in some areas, with the report noting they have more developed information risk strategies than their peers in other industries. The survey found biopharma companies are particularly good at keeping employees informed of their strategies to manage and protect data, at least compared to other sectors.

- read PMLiVE's article