What is a data breach?
Data breach generally refers to instances where personal information is lost, stolen, hacked into, or accessed without permission. Organizations and individuals have the responsibility of protecting confidential or sensitive information in their care and proper safekeeping of this data is vital. Failure to do so can result not only in a breach, but also lead to damaged reputation, significant fines or loss of revenue, and other negative consequences.
Data breaches occur all too frequently, in both large and small organizations. The public and private sectors have been affected by data breaches. The scope of this issue is large with more than 227 million records nationwide involved in a breach since February 2005. This figure represents only those breaches that have been reported, so it may reflect only a portion of the actual occurrences. This is an issue that everyone must be aware of and take steps to mitigate.
In addition to data breach concerns, we must also recognize that data manipulation is a potential threat. If we cannot trust the integrity of our data, and know that it has not been altered inappropriately, our ability to carry out our mission and serve our customers becomes impaired.
Some examples of data that must be protected include the following: Customer/employee information such as names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers; Passwords and other computer security-related information; Intellectual property; Financial information; and Health records of individuals.