Filed Under:Agent Broker, Commercial Business

What's Driving the Rise in Data Breaches?

Cyber insurance is growing in popularity as a means to mitigate the costs and risks associated with a data breach. Given the growing prevalence of data breaches in all industries, companies are seeking help. Industries with large volumes of high-value data—bank accounts and medical records to name a few—are particularly vulnerable to data breaches. Thieves value big data for its profit potential—often reselling it to other thieves or using it for multi-million-dollar healthcare fraud schemes.

InformationWeek recently reported that 419 data breaches were publicly disclosed in 2011 in the U.S., for a total of 22.9 million records exposed, based on a study from the Identity Theft Resource Center. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reports a larger number; it tracked 535 breaches in 2011 that involved 30.4 million records, including the notorious Sony PlayStation incident. As these varying statistics prove—and as industry experts point out—it’s difficult to accurately pin down the actual number of breaches; many went unnoticed by the media, or weren’t even reported at all.

  1. Using personal mobile devices for business, or, bring your own device (BYOD). To save money and to simplify life for employees who don’t want to carry around multiple devices, companies are allowing the use of personal devices to store or process corporate privacy data. More than 80 percent of respondents in the Ponemon study say they use mobile devices that collect, store and/or transmit some form of protected health information (PHI). Yet half of the respondents in the Ponemon study say they don’t do anything to protect these devices. In addition, connecting a device with corporate privacy data to less-than-secure network at home increases the risk of a data breach. And the portable nature of mobile devices makes them all too easy to steal or lose. Many companies are developing BYOD policies to enable a certain level of security, although this puts an employee’s own personal data at risk for exposure.

Economic realities and technological advances have forever changed the way companies amass, use, and store their biggest asset—data. The increased dissemination of data to more people in less-secure environments puts that asset at risk for exposure. Smart companies understand that risk, and are taking proactive steps to protect their data, their customers, and their good name.

 

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