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Protect Your “Digital Roof” from Hail of Data Breaches

Guest Blogger 12/2/2014
Guest Blogger

Remember the days of tall, metal filing cabinets full of paper documents? Well, we still may be using that old-school “technology,” but more and more information is now kept in electronic form.

Both need to be protected from unwanted intrusions, whether by an unscrupulous security guard or hacking software. If not, the consequences can be disastrous. Loss of customer, client and user trust. Compromised operations. Intrusions into private, personal information. Exposure of credit card and other financial information.

It seems every week we hear about a new data breach. Over the past 10 years, 4,500 organizations across the U.S. were exposed to significant financial loss by a breach of private data. The estimated cost of a breach to a public institution is $259 per record. With an average of nearly 30,000 records per breach, that’s a $7.8 million loss!

data_securityCyber liability is a very serious concern for any business or public agency that maintains data in a wide variety of forms including patient or student records, credit card information, employee files, financial and payment records, job applications, payroll and health plan records.

Organizations may maintain more of these records under their “digital roof,” than they realize. But you are legally responsible to protect this data from unauthorized access. So what can you do to protect your precious data and the privacy of those you serve?

  • Be Prepared and Put Your Plans into Action. Conduct a thorough risk assessment, develop a risk management plan. Then have your team actually implement your security policies and procedures before an incident happens.
  • Make Sure You Know Who Can Touch Your Data. First, determine who has access to various types of data and at what level, then establish clear and consistent control of administrator rights.
  • Optimize Data Retention. An often overlooked practice is to simply minimize the volume of information that is retained on a routine basis. Don’t forget to back it up!
  • Protect Your Data. This should cover all forms of protection from effective encryption to physical access control and proper disposal of records.
  • Layer Your Defenses. Use multiple technologies to secure information and detect breaches. And test those systems and protocols on regular basis.

We’d be happy to share our detailed Loss Control Bulletin on cyber liability. Just email me for a copy.

For more information on data breach prevention and cyber liability protection, join our webinar Thursday, December 4 at 10 AM Pacific. There is no cost for this informative online webinar. Sign up at


blog_bradAbout Brad Keenan
Brad is one of the experts at Keenan for cyber liability, internet safety, and analyzing emerging risks Keenan clients will be facing. He enjoys making videos for Keenan and watching all USC sports.