November 16, 2016

Are You Prepared for the Compliance Risk from a Data Breach?

2 minute read

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) released a report for the breaches within the last year. The numbers are unfortunately staggering and present major compliance risk for businesses in nearly every industry.

Overall, 102 + million people were exposed in a total of 315 data breaches. Below is a quick breakdown of the main categories and their associated number of breaches:

  • Medical/Healthcare – 277 breaches of 112,832,082 records
  • Government/Military – 63 breaches of 34,222,763 records
  • Business – 312 breaches of 16,191,017 records
  • Banking/Credit/Financial – 71 breaches of 5,063,044 records
  • Educational – 58 breaches of 759,600 records

As you can see, industries in which you would expect particular attention to be paid to potential compliance risk such as medical or government, actually had the most records exposed. This is particularly troubling and is an indication that most industries are woefully unprepared in the event of a data breach.

These data breaches can have enormous legal, financial and reputational consequences and a proactive governance plan can help to limit compliance risk. Below is an excerpt from one of our recent blog posts that lays out some of these strategies:

1. Clearly establish ownership of compliance and data privacy
 
2. Assess the process for any information shared outside the organization
 
3. Identify any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and create appropriate business processes that include IT, legal and the records management team
 
4. Ensure policies are in place to meet federal, state, local and industry regulations
 
5. PII must be limited not only by user but by location
 
6. Clean up ROT data based on an approved retention schedule
 
7. Use encryption techniques whenever possible
 
8. The ability to have audit trails, logging and monitoring is essential to defensible disposition

An overall assessment of your information governance program is a great first step to protect against compliance risk.

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