Data Breach Readiness

Sue Marquette Poremba

Happy Data Privacy Day! Are you doing anything special to keep the sensitive information stored on your computers safe and sound?

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) is celebrating Data Privacy Day with the release of its 2011 Data Breach Incident Readiness Guide. The point of the guide is to provide businesses with a roadmap for breach prevention and incident management. According the guide, the true test for organizations and businesses should be the ability to answer key questions such as:


  • Do you know what sensitive information is maintained by your company, where it is stored and how it is kept secure?
  • Do you have an incident response team in place ready to respond 24/7?
  • Are management teams aware of security, privacy and regulatory requirements related specifically to your business?
  • Have you completed a privacy and security audit of all data collection activities, including cloud services, mobile devices and outsourced services?
  • Are you prepared to communicate to customers, partners and stockholders in the event of a breach or data loss incident?


Despite the ongoing discussion on the importance of preventing data breaches, most organizations continue to be reactive, rather than proactive, when it comes to security. I love Suzanne Tindal's analogy of data breaches on a ZDNet blog. She wrote:

I believe I know which one they would take (backed up by research, albeit with a small sample size), which makes me think that data breaches are just like cockroaches. If you see one, there are bound to be hundreds lurking around somewhere where you can't see them.

So, while there's not a whole lot I can do about the cockroaches, there is something we can do about the data breaches. We can force them out of those comfy little dark holes they so love to hide in via data breach laws.

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