Archive for January, 2015

Are You Ready for a Data Breach?

January 22nd, 2015 Comments off

The threat of a data breach is becoming greater every day. Any business with POS (point of sale) data is a target. Therefore it is important to have a reactive solution on standby in the event of a breach or attempted breach. Research has shown that if there is a concise, turnkey data breach response plan in place, with trusted experts contracted, it is shown to reduce the negative financial impact of the breach by 22%. Thoroughly understanding the ‘scope of the breach’ is also important and can further reduce costs by 20% more by avoiding unnecessary notification.

Data breach threats in the Healthcare industry represented 42% of all data breaches reported in 2014 and are expected to get worse in 2015. Furthermore, a stolen medical identity sells for $50 on the black market compared to $3 for credit card information and $1 for a social security number. Breach protection goes beyond HIPPA compliance. It should include any PII and PHI (Personal Identifiable Information and Personal Health Information) as well as payroll/financial data, employee records, and intellectual property.

So let’s look at this problem both proactively and reactively. Of course minimizing the chances of a breach through proactive/preventive audits or assessments is much more prudent than just having a good response plan. You might already have your IT professionals internally doing periodic system checks but do they include the third party partners and vendors that touch your data for example or review employee behaviors that are causing exposure? These methods are how access is gained through no fault of your own systems security.

Proactively conducting holistic audits or assessments using investigative experience and technical evaluation to assess your real-world vulnerabilities is the key to minimizing your chances of a breach. You must identify your specific “Actual Threat Environment” leveraging a combination of computer forensic, IT, legal and investigative understanding to capture the entire scope of your vulnerability.

Reactively, in the event of a suspected breach, planned response measures should be quickly employed with a crisis management approach including:

  • initial triage/breach validation
  • quantification of the scope of the breach (necessary to determine need for notification at certain levels and prevents the organization from inappropriate or unnecessary response and resulting in harm)
  • call center support, mass notification guidance and assistance, credit monitoring and legal advice (if needed)
  • total forensic investigation to preserve evidence
  • rebuilding client/customer confidence


For more information on how AFIMAC can help you plan for such a situation please call 440.878.5114

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