Enterprise Search Adoption Slowed by Security Concerns

In asking why enterprise search wasn’t available in organizations, the survey also revealed that 28 percent felt that it was too expensive.

enterprise search and IT security

Just 38 percent of IT departments have invested in or plan to invest in enterprise search capabilities for a range of reasons topped by security concerns, according to a report from enterprise data solutions provider Varonis.

The survey of more than 300 enterprise IT security professionals revealed the additional obstacles to enterprise search adoption were accuracy of the results (36 percent), user adoption (29 percent) and the ability of solutions to scale enough to index all the data (24 percent).

"Given the reliance consumers have on Web search and the value we all derive from it, one might think that the power to easily find business documents would be equally compelling for enterprises. But there are clearly obstacles that past approaches have failed to overcome," David Gibson, vice president of marketing at Varonis, said in a statement.

More than 60 percent of the sample has had difficulty in tracking down one or more documents per week using conventional methods—command line searches or file explorer tools.

In asking why enterprise search wasn’t available in organizations, the survey revealed that 28 percent felt that it was too expensive, 15 percent saw it as difficult to deploy and another 15 percent said that native search is good enough.

When asked to choose the biggest obstacle to enterprise search adoption, the majority of respondents (68 percent), who were surveyed at the RSA Conference in February and Infosecurity Europe in April, cited the risk of employees locating and accessing files they should not have permission to view.

Even if enterprise search correctly filters results by adhering to permissions, the report also suggested there is a more fundamental issue in many organizations--file permissions may not be set appropriately in the first place.

Almost one-third of respondents (30 percent) felt uncomfortable letting enterprise search engines access data because it would expose holes in security.

Further, even if an enterprise search solution perfectly filters out results based on established permissions, the majority of respondents indicated they are not confident that their organization's existing permissions are accurate.

Scalability was also a concern for almost one-quarter of survey respondents, a concern the report pointed out was understandable as today’s file share and intranet environments tend to span many terabytes, and traditional search engines have not had a way to quickly detect and index new or changed files.

"Enterprise search also has some work to do in order to show its potential advantages and differences compared to standard desktop search," the report concluded. "The survey suggests that there may be confusion among employees about what enterprise search can actually accomplish."