Perspectives Newsletter

Issue 4 | WINTER 2012

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Will 2011 Be Coined the Year of the Breach?

Foreward written by Illena Armstrong, Editor-In-Chief, SC Magazine
Will 2011 be remembered for its countless data compromises, myriad hacktivist attacks or simply as the year data security finally and fully went mainstream?

Arguably, more than any year before, we saw a few prominent groups rise up to call out what they perceived as questionable practices adopted by government and private entities alike. Their compromises and leaks of data seemingly had no end, and often strived to promote their various (and sometimes varying) political ideologies. Engaging in attacks that compromised organizations' confidential data and, in some unfortunate instances, the data of innocent customers these groups scored the news coverage they were after, but do they alone epitomize all that has been information security over the last 12 months? Probably not, so onto the data compromise…

Organizations of all sizes across all markets have hurtled countless data breach notifications through cyberspace to warn billions of customers of compromises to their personal information. Highlights include the exposure of a blogging service's 18 million records, a healthcare provider's five million patient records, and more to a shockingly long list of victimized organizations.

So, could 2011 be coined the year of the breach?

Sure. And, many experts say it’s bound to get worse given the sheer volume of electronic data, the many cybercriminals who are continually honing their skills to get at it and all the technology on which we've come to rely, which brings me to my last point: At no time in our history have we seen individuals and organizations so dependent on IT. Let’s count the ways.

There’s the bring-your-own-device movement among average Janes and Joes that has led to an astronomically growing number of endpoints. Companies and government agencies are looking for cost-savings in a dank economy through cloud computing and paperless operations. Every walk of life is tethered to some social networking application or another not only as they sit at their desks, but as they vacation in Venice or sip Vodka Martinis at office shindigs.

Meanwhile, legislators all over the world are worried about protecting electronic records, with compliance mandates becoming finetuned to integrate specific and more robust security technologies, policies and requirements. CEOs and CFOs who may have been a little hands-off in the past are now taking notice.

Has data security gone mainstream? Yes. As a matter of fact, to mark the year's end, we in the information security industry likely will tweet something about this very development from our many holiday parties. Here's hoping next year, we'll have more to celebrate.

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