How to Effectively Address Privacy Concerns

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The problem with Big Data

Companies have lot of information about their customers, their employees, their consultants – anyone who has had contact with a company leaves some type of electronic footprint. Often that information is personally identifiable information (PII), such as full names, birthdates, Social Security numbers or financial data. But according to an InformationWeek article, consumers, especially, aren't always informed on how that data is being used or whether or not they can opt out of having their PII used by the company.

Big Data means big risk, said Lloyd, even when it is accumulated by the companies we want to do business with. The sheer amount of data collected and stored is often difficult to manage and, unfortunately, some companies don't realize just how much that information is worth. Lloyd said:

These unprecedented data mountains are a very tempting target to those who want to abuse data. Once upon a time, thieves robbed banks, because that's where the money was. In the information economy, the databases are where today's valuables reside.

Survey after survey shows it: Both consumers and employees question privacy on enterprise networks. For example, TRUSTe, a global data privacy management company, found that consumer trust has hit a three-year low. A GFI Software survey found that employees worry about identity theft within their company.

However, while the concerns themselves aren't new, the survey results are showing a new trend, said Barry Shteiman, director of Security Strategy at Imperva:

This new awareness is because many breaches in the past two years have resulted in the leakage of private information, and for that reason it became top-of-mind. However, this is a problem that has existed since the birth of data systems decades ago. That being said, the concern is real – breaches that risk business and private user information, such as their Social Security numbers, credit card information and other details create the risk of identity theft, and financial loss.

It isn't just breaches that are the problem, Renee Bradshaw, senior solutions manager at NetIQ, added:

With the hyper-focus on the NSA spying scandal, the Target breach, and most recently, the Heartbleed bug, it's no wonder that many Americans are very concerned about data privacy. The prospect of having your most private information bared for all to see, or of having your personal wealth plundered by the "bad guys," has become a real possibility – a part of public consciousness. Understandably, there is fear, and not without merit.

Now that consumers and employees are both growing more vocal about the risks involved, it is time for enterprise to start understanding how data leaks occur and addressing privacy concerns.


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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