PwC and Exonar’s new data discovery and remediation services

PwC and Exonar form alliance to bring new data discovery and remediation services to market

  • Partnership will bring together PwC’s world-leading data discovery knowledge with Exonar’s ground breaking Information Intelligence™ platform to help companies meet future data demands

Exonar today announced that PwC’s Data Discovery team has selected its ground breaking Information Intelligence software to help its clients understand unstructured data in greater depth.

With increasing regulatory and compliance pressure, and the growing need to manage a business better, many companies turn to PwC for their data discovery, review and remediation services. PwC has engaged with Exonar in a number of data discovery projects where understanding unstructured data and its content is needed. This has included pre and post data breach, finding intellectual property stored where it should not be on a network, GDPR compliance and helping clients properly dispose of data to reduce storage and the risk of potential litigation costs.

Exonar is a British company that is redefining how organisations map, categorise and understand all of their data. Exonar solves a problem common to all organisations and their senior information owners, namely “I just don’t know what I’ve got”.

This statement, compounded with “I don’t know where it is or who has access to it” results in information security, regulatory and privacy demands becoming disproportionately challenging. The result is large amounts of risky, unwanted and unnecessary information being stored. In turn, this makes finding and understanding productive, valuable, or sensitive information much more difficult.

Umang Paw, PwC Partner in London, said, “We are excited to be working with Exonar and to add its capability to the portfolio of technology that we tailor for our clients’ specific business needs. We have been working with Exonar for over a year and are seeing real benefits across a number of different scenarios when it comes to helping our clients understand their electronic data.”

“Our technology provides a simple, comprehensive view of where data is being held,” explains Adrian Barrett, founder and CEO of Exonar.

“The platform’s underlying big data architecture provides a view of the whole enterprise, often uncovering repositories that have been forgotten about, or those that present a risk. It works by using machine learning to accurately identify data held in information systems and categorises it automatically into groups such as personal, private and sensitive. The platform does this instantly and then monitors on an ongoing basis every time a change is made.

“By bringing together our unique technology with PwC’s in-depth understanding of the world’s leading businesses, we can give CEOs the assurances they need that data is being managed in the right way to meet the obligations of regulation today and to continue to do so as laws evolve,” adds Adrian.

About Exonar

We enable organisations to better organise their information, removing risk and making it more productive and secure. Visit us at or follow us @Exonar.

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We asked the former Head of Fraud, Risk and Security for Vodafone UK and now Exonar’s Chief Operating Officer, Julie Evans, what GDPR means for Exonar, what we will be doing about it and what the potential implications for other UK businesses are.

What does GDPR Mean to Us and Our Clients?

GDPR significantly increases the level of proactive management of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). It increases the requirements on any organisation that deals with the personal information of EU citizen customers or employees. The fact is that no-one is clear on what the post-Brexit world of GDPR will look like in the UK but it will still impact most UK organisations.

The UK exit from the EU will not be complete before GDPR is implemented. There will be a significant period of overlap following the triggering of article 50 and, even after Brexit, there is a strong possibility that similar regulations will be sought by the ICO and demanded by international companies who will look for ‘adequacy’ in UK law to ensure that the UK can compete and operate seamlessly across Europe and the world. Further, GDPR requires adequate privacy protection in states outside the EU, if EU companies are to store their data there. In all, it seems nearly inconceivable that privacy of personal information will not be a significant factor in the coming years.

As well as increasing privacy requirements, GDPR introduces significant penalties for non-compliance and also broadens the scope of what is considered PII. Although somewhat lacking in absolute clarity, the Regulations define PII as being information that enables the identification of a person.

What does GDPR mean for Exonar?

As a relatively new company Exonar is not burdened by legacy of old IT infrastructure although we must ensure the way we hold data is compliant with GDPR. For us, this is primarily employee and shareholder data. In common with most organisations the first task is to find and create a register of the data. Even a relatively small organisation like Exonar uses multiple different platforms to store information; documents, spreadsheets, PDFs and presentations, located across file shares, email and in cloud drives. It’s not an insignificant issue, however, we do at least have our own Exonar software at our fingertips to enable us to map where this information is being stored.

As well as identifying where all of our PII is, we’ll also need to designate the role of Data Protection Officer (DPO), an individual within our organisation directly tasked with identifying and protecting individual’s information within our organisation, it does not need to be a full time role but there must be clarity of accountability and we are re-apportioning our job roles to accommodate this requirement.

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Understanding the key changes proposed by GDPR is the first step in understanding how to be compliant with the regulations. The table below (courtesy of consulting firm EY) highlights the key areas that need addressing:

Depending on the level of organisational maturity, the new regulations could therefore demand changes to resourcing, training, process definition, applications as well as how the data is handled. The requirements could be significant.

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Another Day, Another Event – This Time, Privacy

With another day comes another event for Exonar, this time it was Privacy: The Competitive Advantage. Hosted in Microsoft’s Paddington office, the event was conceived to highlight the state of play in data protection and the safeguards put in place. As John Taysom, Senior ALI fellow at Harvard University, reminded all in attendance; ‘Big Data is a Euphemism for data about you.’ With this in mind, we are reminded that it has now become cheaper to store data permanently rather than to actually find personal data and delete it. With potential fines of up to 4% of global revenue if companies disregard data privacy and are found to have negligently lost person data on EU citizens in GDPR, solutions are needed.

Silicon Valley companies realised early on that data is the new capital and in response cornered the market in a relatively short period of time. With this in mind the EU is fighting back and could create a serious challenge to the current data ‘land grab’. They state that no data is allowed to leave the EU and be targeted by third parties without consent. It is in light of this that data management now requires a change of culture and mindset; companies who hold personal data may be liable to huge fines should the regulators deem companies are complicit in abusing the personal information.

One of the main themes of the day considered how the individual can leverage their data value when their data is only valuable when compared with a significant volume of data. ARM’s Ian Ferguson shed light on the fact that personal data is owned by the individual and needs to be shared only with their consent, meanwhile the Industry needs to gain trust and secure the data. Highlighting the fact that hackers will find a backdoor and that Data leaks are a problem, Ferguson went on to reiterate that the industry needs to earn the right to hold your data and should lose that right if they cannot secure it. Amit Pau from Ariadne Capital sees opportunity in data privacy and a change of world order. Millennials are deemed much more savvy and able to recognise that they, the consumer, are in control of their personal data. If they get value from apps then they will expect companies to exploit that.

Steve Wood, head of Policy Delivery at the ICO, presented the facts, that fines represent a significant increase on the previous maximum fine of £500K.  Data controllers need to demonstrate how they comply with the law and an implementation plan for data Privacy. With this in mind, the event illustrated the fact that legislation is catching up with the market for data and it is trying to readdress the balance of exploitation for benefit or the protection of the European public. We should hope that in a post Brexit world the data of British citizens is equally looked after.
By Jason Phelps