Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Data Breaches Are On The Rise

What is the definition of a data breach? When confidential, protected, or sensitive data is viewed, stolen, or used by an unauthorized individual, this is considered a breach. Examples of corporate data which your company has a duty to protect include:

  • Payment Card Information (PCI data)
  • Personal Health Information (PHI)
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Proprietary Intellectual Property or trade secrets

By allowing these protected data types to be improperly accessed or stolen, a corporation might be legally liable for having “breached their duty of care” to protect corporate data and destroy it properly. This makes prevention through network security and strict data management protocols an important part of your corporate strategy.

Complying with HIPAA regulations or the PCI Data Security Standard provides a solid framework for gathering, storing, using, and deleting protected corporate data using certified hard drive, SSD and NVMe wipe software. Even if your industry is not required to follow these strict laws and guidelines, choosing to model your data management policy to meet the highest security standards will provide the best protection for your company and your customers.

How Common Are Corporate Data Breaches?

There are several common methods by which hackers can obtain access to protected corporate data. These are the use of ransomware, malware, phishing, or denial of service. All of these are designed to gain access to valuable customer data. Data can also be stolen through forensic drive recovery—when servers are retired without the use of a secure drive eraser—which completely overwrites information so that it cannot be restored.

Important Data Breaches Statistics And Trends

Here are some facts to consider, as you create or improve your corporate data management policy, which outline the risks and growing impacts of data security breaches to industry leaders in recent years:1

  • 80% of all data is currently stored by enterprises or corporate entities.
  • The number of reported data breaches has risen steadily from 614 in 2011 to 1579 in 2017.
  • More than 300 of these reported breaches resulted in the exposure of more than 100,000 records.
  • Currently, the largest data breach involved the credit reporting agency Experian, which exposed 200 million records for over 10 months.
  • The largest credit card fraud reported involved a data breach at Heartland Payment Systems, which compromised 130 million records, including payment processing data for 250,000 businesses.

What Is The Standard Lifecycle For Corporate Data

Although there are specific regulatory requirements based on industry and the sensitivity of the data you manage, these are the generally accepted stages of the data management lifecycle:2

  • Data generation or capture, which refers to obtaining data through signal reception, data entry, or external data source
  • Data maintenance, where data is processed for further use, and maybe scrubbed, integrated, or extracted
  • Active use of data, when the information is supporting your corporation's operational goals and objectives
  • Data publication, which means the information is shared with authorized users, internally or externally, where appropriate to a corporation's business model
  • Data archiving, when data is removed from active use or publication and is stored as required or needed for future use or analysis
  • Data purging or destruction, when your organization deletes data which is no longer needed or has reached its scheduled date to be destroyed by physical destruction or secure disk wipe software

How Can Your Business Protect Customer Data And Prevent Data Breaches?

These tips will help your corporation develop and enforce a strong data security policy that will help you ensure all stages of the lifecycle are protected and data is completely destroyed with one of the best drive wipe software at the end of its useful life:

  1. Protect all collected data as if it were sensitive or proprietary, using all reasonable means to ensure it is not exposed to unauthorized access at any point during the process.
  2. Document and follow a strong privacy policy that is shared with your customers and clients, and which outlines exactly what personal or private data you will collect and how it will be stored, used, and destroyed.
  3. Be aware of the personal information being stored, which groups have access to that data, and its intended use, to accurately identify the risk of hacking or theft of valuable data in your system.
  4. Do not underestimate the threat of being the victim of data theft due to the small size of your business, as valuable financial information is always being sought and small businesses are targeted along with larger corporate data centers.
  5. Only collect the data that your business needs to support operations and objectives, reducing the amount of collected personal information whenever possible and deleting it as soon as its purpose has been served.
  6. Maintain a secure network and keep all hardware assets up to date on security software and operating system updates, as well as anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
  7. Use multiple layers of security and implement improvements to drive wipe software and automated data destruction as improved tools become available.
  8. Scan all new devices, media, and data files to make sure they do not corrupt or introduce hacking tools into your data center servers and systems.
  9. Educate your employees and subcontractors who handle sensitive data on policies and protocols your corporation requires to protect customer data and business secrets from exposure during every phase of the data lifecycle, and ensure that penalties are in place for failing to follow required guidelines.

Should Your Business Consider Improving Your Corporate Data Management Tools?

Less than two decades ago, corporate data security was primarily focused on protecting access to physical documents and secure databases. Paper records and their destruction through shredding was a mainstay of protection for business secrets and payment information. Servers were large, isolated, and relatively easy to protect.

As the internet has grown to billions of websites, and a large percentage of data either lives or passes through the cloud during its lifecycle, cybercrimes and cyber-security tools are in an ongoing battle to prevent data breaches and keep corporate data secure. Some factors which may drive your company to review or revise your data management protocols include:3
v19 total amount estimated for cybercrimes was $2 trillion dollars.

  • By 2021 the annual damages of cybercrimes are expected to be $6 trillion dollars—more than all natural disasters that occur each year.
  • While small businesses hold 13% of the cybersecurity market, most invest less than $500 in cybersecurity per year and may not even make use of a secure hard drive eraser.
  • A ransomware attack is predicted to happen every 14 seconds somewhere in the world.
  • Almost 60% of companies have been the target of DDoS attacks, phishing, or social engineering attacks.
  • Statistics may not reflect the true scale of the problem, as only 10% of cybercrimes are reported each year.

Staying On The Cutting Edge Of Corporate Data Protection

A reality of the fast-moving pace of technology is that by the time a large corporate entity has studied, crafted, and implemented a corporate data protection policy, new threats or methods of exposure may have been developed. Even when drives are formatted, cybercriminals are adept at restoring it through the use of forensic software.

Using a disk wipe software that is certified at the highest levels of security for multi-national corporations around the globe is a choice that will keep pace with data threats as they develop. WhiteCanyon Software's WipeDrive Enterprise software is certified by ADISA, Common Criteria, NCSC, NYCE, HIPAA and prevents formatted data from being restored for malicious purposes.

Our expert consultants can help your business or corporate data center create a full system that automatically deletes data when it has reached the end of its lifecycle. To leverage our wealth of expertise in large-scale data management and protection, contact us today to speak to our team about improving and streamlining your data protection practices before cybercriminals make your corporation their next target. Contact us at 801.224.2952 for more information.