The Data Privacy & Data Protection Town Hall

John Pinson
Feb. 5, 2014 by John Pinson

The Online Trust Authority celebrated Data Privacy Day 2014 by holding a series of town hall events across the country last week. My colleague Sarah Jenan and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the San Francisco event at the Union Square Marriot on Thursday. A highlight of the morning was the session titled Security by Design: What Businesses Should Know to Help Them From Becoming a Statistic.

Moderated by Tim Rohrbaugh, chief information security officer at Intersections, the panel brought together special agents from the FBI and Secret Service (who will remain anonymous), along with representatives from two consumer privacy advocacy groups: Neal O’Farrell, the executive director of the Identity Theft Council, and Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

The consensus on the panel was that the kind of massive data breaches we’ve seen recently at Target, Neiman Marcus and, most recently, Michaels stores, is a trend that is not likely to go away anytime soon. Law enforcement is seeing a huge array of network intrusions both here in the U.S. and globally. Educating the business community on how to better secure IT resources to deter attacks is a key focus of law enforcement, but both government representatives stressed that increasingly they’re placing an emphasis on helping IT professionals understand best practices for when a breach does occur. What kind of information can victimized companies provide to aid in remediation, investigation and getting a positive outcome – here is where the experts believe progress can be made in successfully tracking and stopping malicious hackers.

Continuing in this vein, several panelists made the point that it’s a very good idea for IT and data security professionals to reach out to and establish contacts with law enforcement proactively. Having a computer incident response plan in place, and sharing it with counterparts within the law enforcement community, is proving to be the most effective way to mitigate damage from attacks and recover from them quickly. Moderator Rohrbaugh pointed out that his organization invites in cybersquad law enforcement when running through incident response training precisely because the FBI and Secret Service will need to be involved if a real-life breach incident were to occur. Knowing who in law enforcement you’ll be dealing with in case something goes wrong – having that relationship established up front is very valuable.

Education may well be the key to saving companies from data breaches – here’s an eBook about DMARC email authentication to keep your emails safe and secure!

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