If you’re spending money on a research project, study or internal audit, the data that you gather and the conclusions that you draw will almost certainly be of the utmost importance to you and your business. Sometimes data is sensitive because it contains personal information referring to your clients or customers; sometimes it’s sensitive because it directly concerns the operating practices and trade secrets of your business. In either case, the security of your data ought to be a pressing concern and high on your list of priorities. If you’re as yet unconcerned about data security, perhaps these three high-profile examples will remind you just how easy it is to have the privacy of your data compromised…
Los Alamos national laboratory
Throughout the 20th Century, China had lagged behind the US when it came to the development of nuclear arms, primarily due to the fact that the Asian nation was incapable of producing warheads small enough to be launched from a single missile at multiple targets. All of that changed in the mid 1980s however, when data was stolen by a Chinese-American computer scientist from Los Alamos national laboratory in New Mexico. The data theft was thought to have been an early form of ‘thumbsucking’, in which a USB drive is used to illicitly extract information from an employer. The fact that the US government’s nuclear secrets could have been compromised so easily is indicative of how vital adequate data security methods can be.
Joint Intelligence Committee
In 2008, an employee of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee was struck off after losing vital al-Qaida files pertaining to security vulnerabilities in Iraq and Pakistan. The employee had not been given permission to remove the highly sensitive documents, and made the somewhat unforgiveable blunder of leaving the files on a train once they had been removed from the Whitehall facility. Fortunately, a member of the public handed the documents to the BBC before they could fall into the wrong hands, but this example still draws attention to the inherent security risks posed by physical paper data.
You don’t have to be careless for your data to be at risk, however. Earlier this year, South Korean telecoms company KT had the details of around 8 million customers stolen by two computer hackers who went on to make almost a million dollars by selling the details onto KT’s competitors. Spyware and other hacking techniques are responsible for more and more data security breaches these days, and UK businesses would do well to be aware of the risks that they may face from determined cybercriminals.
Your data is valuable and it needs to be protected at all costs; think carefully about the data capture methods you use as both digital and physical forms of data are susceptible to different kinds of security breach. Contact us for more information about how you can protect your data from security breaches, or arrange a no-obligation workshop to see how we can help you to collect your data and keep it as safe as possible.