Statistics show that in 2015 alone around one-third of the U.S. population had some aspect of their data compromised – that’s over 120 million people! Whether it was their health insurance, tax returns, or prison phone records, Americans private data was at risk. Although data breaches aren’t a new problem – you’ll recall the Heartbleed, Target, and Sony Pictures breaches of 2014 – they are certainly on the rise. In Experian’s Data Breach Industry Forecast for 2015, they predicted that as we move away from easily hacked technologies, there will initially be a spike in data breaches as the window closes for traditional retail payment breaches before new security technology is implemented so it is likely this trend will continue in the future. Companies now regularly purchase cyber insurance to mitigate costs should a breach occur.
While there is an obvious benefit to customers and employees of companies who invest in data security, the cost to companies of these attacks in expensive downtime while security is restored, long-term damage to brand reputation and even possible class action lawsuits make an investment in greater data security unquestionably beneficial. According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach study, on average companies spent about $154 per compromised record in 2015.
The health and medical industry proved to be especially vulnerable in 2015– the BlueCross BlueShield and UCLA breaches each affected millions of people. Some of their vulnerability was due to the antiquated data storage systems that the healthcare industry is often reliant upon patients fill out paper forms which are handled by multiple employees before being either entered into a computer and destroyed or filed for long-term storage. As a result, some of the breaches were reportedly due to employees accidentally or intentionally mishandling patient paperwork by improperly destroying files or losing laptops with unlocked files.
These sorts of data breaches could be easily avoided if the healthcare industry and companies, in general, invest in moving their data away from physical files and towards secured cloud storage. When files are stored on the cloud a variety of safety measures can be implemented that just isn’t possible with paper records: cloud files can be password protected and set so that they are only accessible from a specific location or by logging into a VPN network. And if cloud files are compromised it is far easier to track which files, who compromised them, and which customers are affected. As an added benefit to patients, storing medical files in the cloud makes it easier to share records between practices if a patient is seeing multiple doctors and verifying that all doctors are working from the most current set of patient records.
It is crucial to remember that through improvements in technology, like storing documents in the cloud and the move towards chip and PIN debit cards, make our data more secure, they do not totally eliminate all threats. It is still crucial to protect all of your data with strong passwords, regularly monitor your accounts to verify that no false activity has occurred, and to keep up to date with the latest available security technology.
DoubleHorn offers Cloud Security and Compliance solutions for IT infrastructure, whether it is your data center, in a hosted environment or the Cloud. Protecting your IT infrastructure requires you to identify threats, monitor the network day and night, detect suspicious traffic and respond immediately. With nearly one million new security threats coming up in the digital domain every day, we offer you solutions to uncover and protect all your infrastructure. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-61-VOICE (86423) to learn more.