Avoiding Data Breaches, Identity Theft and Other Online Risks
Online and Mobile Safety The recent legal battle waged by the FBI and Apple over protecting the security of iPhones has increased awareness about the information we store on our devices.
Increasingly, both consumers and organizations are conducting business online. As individuals we pay bills online, file taxes online and shop online. Enterprises, meanwhile, conduct every operation virtually. The irony is that as our confidence in online transactions increases, so do the risks—especially those associated with data and online security breaches.
Do you remember playing with cryptograms as a child? Every letter in the alphabet was exchanged for another one; you needed a key to figure out what was being written. Computer encryption is in effect the same thing but with a much more complicated key structure. An encrypted computer contains many ones and zeros—totally useless cipher text unless the correct key is in place. This is how encryption protects the information stored on computers.
The security headache for health care
Health care is an important use case because health care data contains so much valuable, confidential information, such as social security numbers and home addresses. The total number of breach victims in health care tripled in the last two years alone, and the per-record cost for health care data breaches is the highest of any industry.
“A growing number of security-conscious companies are requiring the implementation of advanced security technologies...”
To make the situation even worse, health care organizations are now sharing digitized personal health data more widely with insurers, third-party vendors and other providers, and this is contributing to the likelihood of breaches. Increased data sharing results in better patient care. But it also puts the patient at risk for data theft if data isn’t shared or stored securely.
The biggest corporate security threat
As we saw with the Apple versus the FBI issue, smartphones are actually quite secure; they can’t even be easily hacked by the FBI. However, laptops are not equipped with encryption by default.
An unencrypted laptop takes only a few seconds to hack, and a hacked laptop can provide access to confidential information and data, including usernames and passwords.
One result is that a growing number of security-conscious companies are requiring the implementation of advanced security technologies, including encryption, specifically for laptops used when working out of the office.
Large organizations with IT departments are most likely to have on-premise encryption solutions. The IT department handles password resets and data recovery. Smaller organizations are more likely to identify an encryption service provider that delivers encryption over the internet. This is called “security as a service.”
To sum up, the remainder of 2016 is likely to bring new security threats and high-profile corporate security breaches. And it is important to remember that, while the security of mobile devices will continue to get a lot of publicity, it will be more crucial than ever to secure the laptops that professionals use at home and on the road