Recommendations to Protect Data From Breaches

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-08-08 Print this article Print

Gartner made some specific recommendations to protect data from breaches, such as compartmentalizing personal information and restricting access to only the smallest number of users, and keeping track of who has privileges to view the data. Data should be encrypted when being transmitted across public networks and stored on portable devices and on other forms of storage, Gartner said. The report also recommended using data-loss-prevention tools, tokenization, data-masking and privacy-management tools.

Depending on the nature of the business, privacy officers will focus 5 to 25 percent of their time on location services, Gartner said. While not every organization processes geo-location data from GPSes, the nearest cell tower, nearby wireless access points, smart meter identifiers and IP addresses, organizations need to be well versed in ways to avoid a potential "privacy scandal," such as a smartphone application storing more location information than necessary, Gartner said.

Many organizations are currently compiling "vast" amounts of data without a "clear plan of what to do with it," Gartner said, noting the practice violates a fundamental privacy principle of "collect information only for the purpose for which you need it."

Gartner also claimed cloud computing and privacy are "innately at odds" because the laws that apply to the specific country in which the organization is headquartered doesn't apply to data residing on public clouds because it doesn't reside in any one particular country. Even so, privacy compliance does not require that data has to stay within the country, as organizations should focus on the location of the cloud provider, not of its data centers.

"Most privacy laws have some flexibility, guidance is evolving slowly, and in many cases, there are legally acceptable solutions," Gartner said. Privacy officials should support IT's cloud and offshore initiatives while implementing "maximum privacy protection" for customers and employees. Gartner estimated that privacy in the cloud would consume 20 to 30 percent of the officer's time.

Organizations need to find the balance between "not enough" protection and "too much" protection, Gartner said. Privacy officials should not look at legal requirements as "they trail technical innovation and cultural change by several years," according to Gartner. There should be a process to identify stakeholders for personal information, gather requirements, influence how the requirements are implemented and make adjustments when necessary. With the process in place, the execution should not take up more than 10 percent of the privacy official's time.

Finally, regulatory changes should not "distract" privacy officials, Gartner said, because most regulatory changes have only a "mid- to long-term effect." Monitoring for changes and adjusting existing processes "are important tasks," but should not consume more than 5 to 10 percent of the officer's time, Gartner said.

The remaining 15 to 20 percent of the privacy officer's time should be spent executing the privacy program, revising policies, following up on incidents and managing relations, Casper said.



Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel