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Data Breaches, Scare Fatigue and the Case for Vigilance

by Erik Briceno

In this year alone, data breaches are occurring at such frequency that it’s now become almost commonplace. When we hear it in the news, we simply shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh great, another one.”

The fact that it happens so often should not soften the severity of it. If anything, it should raise our state of alarm even higher. The problem is, we’ve become so fatigued by alarm. How do you remain vigilant despite this fatigue?

Recognizing the Risks a Data Breach Poses to Individuals

Privacy is one of the top concerns for Americans right now, and with very good reason. It appears every week some major headline breaks out about how our personal data has been leaked from database XYZ and possibly made available to anyone with internet access. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are all up for grabs by anyone willing to spend some Bitcoin on the dark web. It’s gotten to the point where we acknowledge the risk every time we make a purchase — not just online, but also offline, at normal stores. This level of insecurity and wariness isn’t sustainable from either an individual or a business standpoint.

Recognizing the Risks a Data Breach Poses to Your Business

Regardless of what your business is, one way or another your company or organization is linked to consumers. No matter how far separated you are from those consumers, their livelihoods and their trust in you will affect your bottom line, either directly or indirectly.

Even if for some unfathomable reason their wellbeing isn’t something you’re concerned about, you should at least be concerned about the very real threat of liability. The healthcare industry for example, is required to follow a very strict set of rules known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA. In a nutshell, it’s a complex list of procedures designed to keep patient data safe. Not everyone follows the rules however, and when that happens, not only do patients suffer, but companies and employees are severely penalized. Your business could potentially be held liable in much the same way.

But beyond simple legal liability, it’s about trust. There is always huge backlash that accompanies data breaches, and you want your organization to maintain its integrity and save its reputation.

Recognizing the Risks a Data Breach Poses to the Country

Data Breaches, Scare Fatigue and the Case for VigilanceWe’ve been attacked more than once over the years. One such example was when the Office of Personnel Management — the administrative and human resources department for U.S. government employees — was hacked not once, but twice. The department manages security clearances, conducts background checks and keeps records on every past and present federal employee.

From Wired: “If you want to know what’s going on inside the U.S. government, this is the department to hack.” So, China did.

The first hack was in 2013, and then again in 2015. Tens of millions of detailed records about every aspect of federal employees’ lives were stolen, including 21.5 million Social Security numbers and 5.6 million fingerprint records. In some cases, victims weren’t even federal employees, but were simply connected in some way to government workers who had undergone background checks. Those checks include all sorts of extremely specific information, like outlines of the worker’s family, friends, associates and children.

So, yes. You may be tired of hearing the alarm sirens every single time another data breach comes to light, but there are darn good reasons for those sirens to be blaring. Don’t give in to the desensitization. Stay vigilant, because it’s not a case of the boy who cried wolf. The threats are real, and we’re already being affected by them.

 

Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY!

ebriceno
About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of Ampcast.com, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At Ampcast.com, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
Data Breaches, Scare Fatigue and the Case for Vigilance
Data Breaches, Scare Fatigue and the Case for Vigilance