Technology Trends: Data Security
An Enterprise-Wide Conversation
Nimish Sankalia, Majesco

The recent Anthem data breach has generated a lot of conversations within all insurance verticals regarding how we, as an industry, can win the data security battle. One of the key questions everyone seems to be asking is, “Why do breaches seem to be getting more frequent?”

As I sat in a presentation this week given by one of our data experts, I thought about all of the reasons that our data exposure has increased as well as some ways organizations should begin to think about data if they want to stay on top of their security. 

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When we started using the term Big Data, it didn’t just mean that we were gathering more data, but that data issues, channels, uses and transmission were also going to see an explosion in growth. We knew that it would create issues we hadn’t even thought about yet. When companies first started discussing Big Data, I remember there were three or four core concerns (Volume, Visibility, etc.) Just the other day, our data expert identified at least a dozen new, vital data concerns. Data Variety has grown. Data Value has dramatically increased. In the case of Anthem and many other similar organizations, it is clear that Vulnerability is an issue. All of this is a result of Vicissitude, that rapid number of changes that are happening so quickly that CIOs have difficulty recognizing the new security gaps that exist. 

The lesson I came away with was that the more that data becomes our core fuel, the more we need to stop and think about it from every angle. Data breaches aren’t becoming more frequent because there are more hackers. They are becoming more frequent because there are more data targets available and they are, on the whole, more vulnerable.

Our data expert also discussed how data is a “top down” issue for insurers and that we should encourage data conversations at every level of the organization, beginning with the boardroom. These conversations will unify our cultures behind doing the best we can with our data, both in establishing a foundation for using the data well and for grasping that data security is everyone’s responsibility. If business users begin to understand the implications of data breaches and the ways they may inadvertently throw open windows in the walls you’ve established, they may also begin to recognize security weaknesses and act as effective data police at the ground level. 

Think about your own organization and where you are on the journey to a secure environment. 

Do you have a Data Security officer in your shop? Who does that person report to? The CIO, COO, CFO?
Do you have regular audits? Do they cover IT, infrastructure, processes and operations?
Do you have industry recognized security, business continuity and disaster management certifications on your data centers?
How up-to-date are your web, social media, and Internet policies?
Do you work in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment? How is that kept secure?
How aligned are your HR processes to conduct the background verifications of the new personnel and also the
existing individuals

To prepare for the future, organizations should be regularly asking questions like these. 

Do you agree?

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