Posts Tagged Data Breach

How To Build a Data Breach Response Plan:
5 Great Resources

Posted by on Thursday, 14 November, 2013

What is a data breach?

The definition seems obvious for any organization.  A data breach occurs when data that was supposed to be protected from unauthorized access is exposed.

What may not be as clear cut is all of the ways that sensitive data can be compromised.  These include malicious attacks, accidental mistakes, and employee incompetence.  Confidential information can fall into the wrong hands during electronic file transfers, accessing lost or stolen devices, or as a result of hackers’ infiltration into a company’s servers.  Even sending an unsecure email could qualify as a data breach, depending on the information it contained.

five resources for developing a data breach response planWhat is your data breach response plan?

As complex as the causes of data breaches can be, the steps for responding are fairly straightforward, though time-consuming, stressful, and expensive.  Dealing with the breach will be monumentally more challenging if you don’t already have a data breach response plan in place.

Generally agreed upon steps include

  • thorough, extensive documentation of events leading up to and immediately following the discovery of the breach
  • clear and immediate communication with everyone in the company about what happened, and how they should respond to any external inquiries
  • immediate notification and activation of the designated response team, especially legal counsel, to determine whether law enforcement and/or other regulatory agencies need to be involved
  • identification of the cause of the breach and implementation of whatever steps are necessary to fix the problem
  • development of messaging and deployment schedule for notifying those whose data was compromised, based on counsel from lawyers who will review state laws, compliance regulations, and other mandates affecting what the messaging must say and how soon notification must occur, as well as what compensation to affected victims should be provided

5 Important Resources

If your company does not yet have a data breach plan in place, or if you’ve been thinking it might be time to update your current policy, here are five great resources that you’ll want to review.

Data Breach Response Guide (Experian Data Breach Resolution Team)

Here is a comprehensive 30-page PDF that includes how to handle each step of the response process, as well as information about specific kinds of breaches such as healthcare breaches.  It even includes an audit tool for you to use to check your current plan to make sure it’s as updated as it needs to be.

Security Breach Response Plan Toolkit (International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP))

Use this questionnaire to guide the development of your incident response plan.  Involve your executive and IT team so everyone can better understand all facets of the process.

BBB Data Security Guide (Better Business Bureau)

Specifically designed for small businesses, the BBB provides a series of articles and resources to help companies understand the issues surrounding data security, as well as how to build a response plan.

Model Data Security Breach Preparedness Guide (American Bar Association)

For those with limited access to legal counsel, this PDF provides an overview from the legal perspective of how to prepare for a data breach.  It obviously isn’t a substitute for seeking advice from a lawyer who knows or can learn the details of your specific situation as well as the laws that apply in your state and industry.  However, it does provide some good general information that could help you launch a discussion with your legal team.

Data Breach Charts (Baker Hostetler law firm)

If your company does business in more than one state, this is a great starting point to review how different states’ data breach laws compare.  Again, it doesn’t take the place of your legal team, but it’s a helpful overview.

What other resources do you know about that should be included in this list?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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Healthcare Industry Still Lags in Protecting Data

Posted by on Tuesday, 30 April, 2013

As healthcare information security requirements and penalties get tougher, a great deal of discussion is focused around how well the healthcare industry is securing patient data.

healthcare data security survey resultsThe general consensus is that the industry still has a long way to go. One of the industry’s publications, Healthcare InfoSecurity, released the results of the Healthcare Information Security Today survey sponsored by RSA which took an in-depth look at security and IT practices of senior executives in the healthcare industry.

<< click on the image to learn more

 

The survey reviews many information security topics including

  • Impact of a data breach
  • Security threats
  • Compliance and steps to improve security
  • Risk assessment

Some of the responses surprised us on how far healthcare companies need to go for proper HIPAA compliance. Take a look at these statistics:

  • 55% of respondents were not confident in their organization’s ability to comply with HIPAA and HITECH Act regulations concerning privacy and security (grading themselves adequate or less).
  • 66% responded that their organization’s ability to counter internal information security threats was adequate or less.
  • Only 47% of survey participants utilize encryption for information accessible via a virtual private network or portal.
  • 32% of respondents have not conducted a detailed information technology security risk assessment/analysis within the past year with 47% updating their risk assessment only periodically.

The good news is that the survey shows that healthcare organizations are taking steps in the right direction to improve their security practices.

  • 37% of organizations’ budgets for information security are scheduled to increase over the next year.
  • 40% of respondents plan to implement audit tool or a log management solution within the next year.

When asked what their organization’s top three information security priorities are for the coming year, the top responses included

  • Improving regulatory compliance efforts
  • Improving security awareness/education
  • Preventing and detecting breaches

Healthcare IT teams will need updated security policies, comprehensive training for employees, and reliable tools and solutions that can deliver functionality, ease of use, audit reporting, and efficient workflows that protect the security of confidential data at rest and in motion.

The pressure is growing, compliance audits are looming, and tackling these issues are just part of the evolution of the healthcare industry.

 

Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer Phillips is a technology blogger and social media expert. With a focus on the data security and the IBM i market, she has over 10 years of experience writing for publications on technology solutions.

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Retailers Struggle to Protect Against Data Breach

Posted by on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013

data breach, data securityAs thousands of harried spouses and romantically entangled Americans scramble to find the right Valentine’s Day gifts this week, many are pulling out the credit cards and ordering online or over the phone or waiting in line to swipe their debit cards at the florist or candy store.  That’s a lot of personal data zooming through cyberspace, which can make the perfect gift for hackers.

One of the compliance regulations that controls how merchants and others handle credit card data is PCI DSS, established to prevent, detect and react to unauthorized access to personal payment information.  The standards are strict and penalties can be stiff.

The challenge comes when retailers, overwhelmed with busy shopping seasons and lines of customers, have so many things to manage that their vigilance protecting customer data can lose priority.  And yet, it just takes one misstep to open the doors to a data breach.

That’s why it’s critical that retailers and other organizations who handle credit card information regularly assess their data protection policies and processes, and implement effective encryption and data transfer tools that can automate the process of keeping data secure so they can focus on keeping their customers happy.

Check out this story in today’s Omaha World Herald about the challenges businesses of all sizes face when trying to avoid a costly data breach.  And for more information about how Linoma Software can help keep your data safe at rest and in motion, email Solutions@LinomaSoftware.com.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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New Protections for Patient Data Increase Pressure For Trading Partners to Get Compliant

Posted by on Wednesday, 23 January, 2013

Yet another layer of regulation has been added to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that offers even greater protection for healthcare patients’ privacy, while also defining new rights regarding how they can access their health records.

meet HIPAA compliance regulationsThe biggest change is the expansion of HIPAA compliance requirements to include trading partners and third parties who also handle patient data, such as billing companies, contractors, and more.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that these third parties have been responsible for several significant data breaches which is one reason the responsibility for compliance has been extended to this group.

Penalties for violating HIPAA compliance rules will be assessed based on the determined level of negligence, and can go as high as $1.5 million per incident.

Other issues addressed with the latest additions to the HIPAA regulations include more clarity in defining which types of breaches need to be reported, as well as how patients will be allowed to access and interact with their health records electronically.

If you’re concerned about whether your FTP server meets compliance regulations, join us for a webinar on Thursday, Jan. 31 at Noon Central entitled Get Your FTP Server in Compliance!  You can learn more about the agenda for this webinar here.

For more information about the new HIPAA rules, check out the press release from HHS.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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Healthcare Data Breaches on the Rise

Posted by on Wednesday, 19 December, 2012

Stories of data breaches across all industries continue to make the news, and nowhere is the pressure greater to keep data safe than on healthcare IT managers.

Healthcare IT News states that health data breaches increased by 97% in 2011. The 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon’s RISK team confirmed that over 174 million records were reported as compromised, mostly as the result of hackers accessing the data. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center 2011 Breach Stats Report, 20% of all data breaches in 2011 were in the healthcare industry.

data breach statistics for 2012

What is most startling about this report is that, according to the RISK study, 97% of these cases could have been avoided through simple or intermediate security controls.  The graphic (see right) is one of the many included in Verizon’s study.

Because the most common place where data is compromised is from corporate databases and web servers, hackers who gain access to these vulnerable areas are mining this data for private information such as social security numbers, birthdates and credit card information.

Studies like these underscore the importance of establishing network security perimeters and implementing procedures that protect the privacy of  patients’ information residing on these servers.

IT managers must be vigilant to combat hackers’ ever more sophisticated tools and methods, and that begins with better security procedures at the office.

Security Policy and Procedures Document

The first step in ramping up security is to write and formalize a security policy and procedures document that addresses best practice protocols and that encompasses applicable HIPAA and HITECH regulations.

Next, all employees must be trained and expectations for compliance made clear,  because it takes a concerted effort on everyone’s part to ensure the required protections are implemented consistently.

Secure Data Files In Motion

One of the more popular ways for hackers to capture sensitive data is via the movement of files and documents across the Internet.  In an earlier blog post, we talked about how standard FTP is commonly used to send files.  However, FTP sends the files in unencrypted form, and offers no protection for the server’s login credentials. Once those credentials are captured, hackers can use them to access the FTP server to mine additional data files.

While managing the security of all of the files in the office may seem overwhelming, Managed File Transfer solutions can simplify this task. Used in conjunction with a reverse proxy gateway, a much greater security perimeter is formed around the network, servers and the sensitive data that need protection.

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a technical analyst and writer for various technical and social media projects with Humanized Communications.

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