Are data breaches inevitable?

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I just read an interesting article on MarketingWeek written by Richard Lees, chairman of dbg (The Database Group).  Richard has spent the better part of 20+ years combining two of my passions:  marketing and data.  So I’m instantly interested in his opinion on data security.

So why are we so scared of data security? Probably because we see the aftermath of data scandals and know how debilitating to a brand they can be.  Bad PR does not even come close.

So true!  Not only have data breaches resulted in billions of dollars in damages, they have also  single-handedly destroyed brands and killed entire businesses, and big ones at that.  And trust me, organizations like TJX will be feeling the ramifications of their data breach for decades.

Richard sheds light on the growing perception of “inevitability” surrounding data breaches:  “It’s so easy to get data processes wrong and everyone is always waiting for the real clanger to happen…The number of diverse touchpoints that are relatively loosely controlled means it’s far too probable that this can happen.”

And here’s one more soundbite that that drives home the point that many organizations aren’t yet taking even minimal precautions:

“It amazes me how some people still fail to do the basics such as merely password protecting data they are sending offsite, using secure file transfer protocols (SFTP)…It is remarkable how much customer data still moves around the internet every single day with very little control.”

Oh, and if you want more proof that sensitive files, data and documents aren’t safe, check out the WikiLeaks website that Richard references.  Take a look at a few of the anonymous submissions of confidential documents and communications from governments and organizations around the world that we can all get to with just a few mouse clicks.

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