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Key challenges in a strict security and privacy environment

Executive Summary

Today’s businesses operate in a data-driven and privacy-conscious world. Leaders make good decisions and outperform their competitors when they can take advantage of insights that come from data, and leverage that data to drive innovation.

These organizations face many challenges as they seek to leverage their data assets, including barriers created by privacy risks and compliance concerns, inefficient workflows, and complex ad hoc or manual processes that slow access to data. At the same time, they must also ensure that data is safe to use, and retain as much analytical utility as possible. This is not a small task. But if these challenges are not overcome, organizations will continue to struggle with their data and analytics efforts, could fail to meet business and compliance objectives, and it could even result in financial loss, reduced competitiveness and reputational damage.

We commissioned Bloor Research to explore the most pressing challenges facing data leaders today, as well as their near-term data and analytics priorities. You can find the results below or for the PDF version, click here.

Fast Facts


of the data leaders surveyed are unable to use more than 40% of their data.


stated that privacy concerns limit their ability to use data effectively.


of respondents said data protection reduced the value of their data.


find it a challenge to keep up with the pace of regulatory change.


are looking to simplify processes for achieving regulatory compliance.


currently have or plan to invest in a data privacy solution within the next year.

The bottom line

Data is essential for all organizations and its effective use is absolutely critical. But the majority struggle with balancing the needs of the enterprise for fast access to safe and comprehensive data with the need to protect sensitive customer information and remain compliant with rapidly evolving regulations. This survey shows that data leaders are starting to take action through investment in data privacy, and believe that there is more that can be done to ensure that information is safeguarded and can be used effectively.

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Data is seen as a strategic asset

Data is the lifeblood of any organization today. It can help to grow the business, pursue innovation and increase their competitiveness. According to 87.9% of respondents, data is seen as a strategic asset within their organization with Figure 1 showing how it’s used to their advantage.

To achieve these goals, businesses are undertaking a number of strategic initiatives that are based on the data that they collect and analyse. Figure 2 illustrates what the most important of those data-driven initiatives are from more targeted marketing to improving the employee experience.

Timely access to quality data is most critical

Figure 4 shows what respondents feel would most positively impact their organization. This shows that greater levels of access to approved data is seen as the most beneficial, including access to more data, increasing the speed of access and expanding access to a wider range of data consumers.

Reflecting on the goals that data consumers consider to be most critical, Figure 5 shows that their goals concern accessibility of data – and being able to access more data than they can at present. Timeliness is especially important since data that is stale could lead to the wrong decisions being taken, which can cost organizations time and money. 

But only a fraction of data is available

Concerning the top critical goal, timely access to data, respondents then indicated that while data is readily available (Figure 6), this represents only a fraction of the data they need to drive innovation. We even see later on that two-thirds of respondents say the majority of their data cannot be used due to privacy concerns (Figure 10).

It’s clearly important to be able to access data quickly – and safely – since the value of data can be eroded over time, especially if it speaks to use cases that are themselves time-sensitive.

Average time taken for users to access data
How long to provision data would you consider as satisfactory?
What percentage of data can be used effectively for analytics?

Figure 9 sheds light on the obstacles in effectively leveraging data. Data protection and regulatory compliance are at the forefront of the challenges that data leaders face by restricting the amount of data that can be used as well as limiting the number of people who can access data. They need a way to ensure that adequate protections are applied to sensitive data so that it is safe for data consumers to use and analyze, without fear of repercussions for the business in terms of fines, other sanctions or reputational damage. 

Challenges in effectively leveraging data

Data protection and privacy concerns need addressing

As we previously mentioned, the impact of privacy and data protection concerns can be seen in Figure 10. The vast majority are leaving significant amounts of data untapped, with a third saying that the majority of their data cannot be used, and 60% saying that more than 40% of their data is unusable.


Regulatory compliance also remains challenging. As can be seen in the full report, the pace of regulatory change is a challenge for 73.7% with 89% of organizations looking to simplify processes for achieving regulatory compliance. 

What percentage of data cannot be used because of privacy or sensitivity concerns?
Has your organization invested in data privacy tools?

Organizations taking action

Businesses are taking the challenges they face seriously, with a significant majority investing in or planning to invest in data privacy tools within the next year (Figure 11). 

Respondents were also asked what the main reasons behind making these investments were with the top two reasons being security and compliance since data privacy tools are used to mitigate risk (Figure 12).

Top reasons for data privacy investments


Businesses are facing tremendous data privacy, compliance, and data access control challenges, which are hindering their ability to effectively use their data for analytics and to drive innovation. Embracing data security platforms can help overcome these blockers, simplify data protection, and enable them to realize the full potential of their data and analytics initiatives.

Background and methodology

This survey was commissioned by Privitar and fielded by Bloor Research to understand the current state of the data landscape, including challenges and opportunities facing data leaders. This survey was based on telephone interviews of 100 data leaders working at enterprises across the US, UK, France and Germany.

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