News

Survey reveals worrying facts around data breaches

22/01/2016

A survey* carried out last month of the country’s top data protection professionals uncovered a worrying statistic that one third of their organisations had a breach last year. 45% of respondents say that employee negligence is the biggest threat for data safety and security, followed by external attackers and end user devices containing sensitive data.


Ahead of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will hand out large fines for those experiencing breaches, the majority of organisations still do not feel fully prepared for it, with just 40% taking measures to adapt.
The survey revealed that there still appears to be a huge gap in knowledge surrounding data protection, with 57% stating that formal training is imperative. Although training has been improving since 2015, only 56% could say they had received the correct training for their organisations objectives.
87% of respondents noted they have an information security policy in place, however, 33% of those have experienced a data breach within the past 12 months, with most (71 %) being caused inadvertently by staff members.
These findings add hard facts to an uncertain landscape for cyber security in 2016. Organisations need to invest in a broad range of solutions to protect themselves and customer data. For those who haven’t already implemented an information security policy, or want to audit their current policy, Cardwave have devised a quick checklist:
1. Locate data and define access
This seems to be the most important factor in preparing your company. Locating precisely where the data you hold is stored is vital and the new regulations will ask for organisations to have a clear understanding of their data’s physical location and the storage method used. This includes everything from cloud storage to data centres. It is also important to know exactly who has access to what data and how it is managed and shared by those people.
2. Educate the entire company on the new legislation
An organisation is totally responsible for the data it holds; it is responsible for how it is stored, secured, managed and obtained. Implementing your own framework that follows the strict parameters of the new laws is critical, and so too is ensuring that all members of staff understand the meanings of this framework and how to apply it to their working practises. Making sure to take note of the laws that are relevant to your company will be useful for creating the necessary framework.
3. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
The likelihood is that part of the new legislation will involve making it illegal to have a company of 250 employees or more without a Data Protection Officer. Whilst there are disagreements about the practicality of having this in some sectors – and whilst this may not necessarily become law –it seems good practise to appoint someone who oversees regulatory compliance within your company. Many large companies already do this as a matter of being transparent – and gaining trust – with their customers. The officer must be responsible for ensuring the company remains in-line with the legislation, but must be supported by a board. Outsourcing this position to a consultant is an option.
4. Understand the risks your company faces
Educating yourself on the potential risks and creating solutions to address them is an important part of the continuous self-auditing your company should be doing. To ensure that your company is protected from data breaches, it is best to be flexible to the future of technology and proactive against problems that may arise.
5. Put a portable device plan in place
An important aspect to the new legislation is ensuring that your organisation is using the right technology. A simple and yet effective way to store data safely is through encryption. USB flash drives are very commonly used in the workplace, yet the average company is often far too relaxed about data security and portable device use. Regardless, there are a huge amount of breaches every year that take place as a result of lost, stolen or discarded USB flash drives which have not been encrypted, and thus protected.
Through SafeConsole®, encrypted USBs such as SafeToGo™ can be centrally managed by your company and include a variety of features, such as remote kill to disable lost flash drives, secure assistance for forgotten passwords, and the ability to recover any lost data.

SafeConsole® server software provides organisations with full security and compliance alongside SafeToGo™, with password and hardware encryption to protect all stored information automatically.

 

Sources: Source: Irish Business Post 21/1/16, Irish Computer Society*, SafeToGo, SafeConsole BSI, The Guardian, Information Age, Sophos, MicroTrend.

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