Every week there are stories of data breaches, ranging from government health departments to financial services and companies such as MasterCard and Visa. In fact the more someone looks into this issue; the more worrying it appears to be. All of this leads to the important question is our data secure?
Everyone recognises the importance of protecting confidential and private information. Identity fraud remains a serious issue in many countries and it can lead to significant problems for the victims involved. As our world becomes more and more dependent on technology, it appears that government departments and private companies are failing to address the risks involved with holding masses of private digital data.
Recently, there have been health data breaches in Utah and London, which were the result of a hacker attack and a simple misplacement respectively. Visa and MasterCard are currently investigating a data breach at one of the main companies that processes transactions on their behalf. The investigation is at an early stage and the problem has not yet been disclosed but once again this shows the risks involved with electronic data.
A recent Acronis survey revealed that the financial services industry is at high risk of data loss. The survey discovered that financial companies have serious misgivings about their own backup and recovery procedures with 65% lacking confidence in their IT personnel to execute data recovery operations in the event of disaster.
All of these issues lead to the need for better procedures when storing and protecting important data. We have made the step towards the digital age without thinking about the risks involved and without providing the adequate protection needed. Storing important details electronically requires certain standards and government departments are now looking into the issue following highlighted problems.
After the health data breach which has led to the theft of around 250,000 social security numbers in Utah, Governor Gary Herbert has called for an independent audit of all the state’s data security procedures. In British Columbia, their Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated that her office had investigated 500 cases of privacy breaches last year. This has led to her calling for the province to change their Personal Information Protection Act in an attempt to prevent these breaches in both the public and private sector.
It’s clear that protecting electronic data seems to be a serious issue in today’s society. Companies, as well as government departments have been at fault in the past and both must work hard to prevent data breaches from occurring in the future.
Robert Dean has worked in the confidential shredding industry for several years and believes in the importance of data security. He currently works for The Shredding Alliance.