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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2.5 million Californians affected by data breaches in 2012

Category:   Secure File Transfer

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Data breaches are a serious problem for businesses of all kinds. If an organizations' information is exposed, lost or stolen, the consequences can be dire and multifaceted. Firms will likely face severely damaged reputations, as well as regulatory fines and other sanctions. And all of this is on top of the direct financial losses which will often result from such incidents.

Considering the consequences of these breaches, it is obvious that organizations need to take robust steps to protect themselves from the these threats. However, as a recent study revealed, many businesses are coming up short in this regard, suggesting the need for more effective, secure file transfer solutions

California data
The report, the first of its kind, highlighted all of the reported breaches of consumer data to occur in California in 2012. Released by Attorney General Kamala Harris, the report detailed 131 separate incidents which affected a total of approximately 2.5 million California residents. The retail industry experienced the greatest number of breaches, followed by the finance and insurance industries. Slightly more than half of the breaches were caused by external threats or malevolent insiders.

"Data breaches are a serious threat to individuals' privacy, finances and even personal security," said Harris in a statement. "Companies and government agencies must do more to protect people by protecting data."

Doing more
This raises the simple question of what, precisely, firms should do as a means of better protecting their own information and their customers' data. If the strategies and tools currently in use are insufficient, what should businesses look for when they seek to upgrade their data protection abilities?

Obviously, this is a complex question with no single, definitive answer. However, there are a number of general guidelines which firms can and should abide by as they pursue data security solutions.

One of the most critical considerations is protecting information, including big data, while it is in motion. As a general rule, it is easier to ensure that information remains secure when it is within the company's firewall than when it is outside of those confines. Consequently, businesses need robust, dependable methods of conveying data of all kinds. This is particularly true because businesses are increasingly coming to rely on self-service IT services. These include business intelligence (BI), analytics, customer relationship management (CRM) and other solutions. For such strategies to work, employees need to have access to vast amounts of information, which necessitates regular and extensive data distribution within organizations. If this data is not protected while in transit, data breaches will quite possibly result.

To this end, businesses should consider investing in high-quality, secure managed file transfer (MFT) solutions. MFT tools can allow employees to send and receive vast amounts of data easily and nearly instantly, and all without compromising the integrity or security of the information in question. This allows businesses to leverage their available data to maximum effect.