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January 27, 2014

Tomorrow is a day for data privacy reflection

Data Privacy Day comes just at the right time to raise security awareness.

By Duncan Macrae

IT security experts have described tomorrow’s Data Privacy Day (DPD) as extremely timely, following recent high profile hacks around the globe.

DPD, held annually on January 28, aims to encourage everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority – empowering and educating people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

Martin Sugden, CEO of data loss solutions provider, Boldon James, said: "Awareness days are a great way to raise the profile of important issues that might otherwise go unnoticed and DPD is no different. Most businesses have some form of online presence, whether that’s e-commerce, social media, websites, or even just staff accessing corporate networks on their own devices. The resulting continuous flow of data is an on-going security challenge for organisations that, by law, must protect sensitive personal data such as customer names and records from being leaked or lost."

During the past year alone, there have been countless headlines about high-profile organisations losing data or inadvertently making sensitive information public.

"Organisations must not only contend with cybercriminals and external threats, but they must also deal with the ‘insider’ threat," added Sugden. "Not all data leakage incidents are due to malicious activity, some are simply down to human error.

According to a recent Forrester report, inadvertent misuse of data from insiders topped the list of breach causes in 2013, at 36% of breaches. In the public sector and healthcare industry this percentage jumps to 44%.

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Prakash Panjwani, senior VP & GM, data protection solutions at SafeNet, commented: "As we reflect on the state of the industry on DPD we should be thinking about how to enable a Secure Breach environment.

"Of course we want to prevent breaches in the first place, but today’s reality necessitates a shift in thinking so that organisations are not relying solely on breach prevention approaches, but are prepared that a breach will happen. This type of preparation leads to the employment of tactics and technologies, like encryption, to mitigate the impact of a breach. If the value that cybercriminals derive from stolen data is removed, their motivation to break in will disappear. That’s the only way we avert the crisis and reverse the trend."

"According to new data from the Online Trust Alliance, at least 740 million data records were exposed in 2013, making it the worst year in history for reported breaches. In fact, four of the top 10 breaches of all time occurred last year.

Sugden said: "Whether it be high-profile, and high-volume, attacks against Target, Neiman Marcus or Adobe, this past year has made it obvious to everyone that we’ve reached an unprecedented level of crisis when it comes to data security and that there is a new mindset needed."

DPD is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated cybersecurity education and awareness, and advised by a distinguished advisory committee of privacy professionals.


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