New Year, New Data Breach Woes: Three Trends to Watch

The New Year is here — and that means this a good time to take stock of how your organization handles its information security and processes.

5 January 2015


The New Year is here — and that means this a good time to take stock of how your organization handles the security of its data.

As an earlier post noted, 2014 will likely go down as “The Year of the Data Breach.” And all indications suggest that the problem of securing confidential information won’t be going away any time soon. Indeed, the challenge of managing and preventing cyber hacks and information loss will remain a top business priority in the coming year, according to Experian's 2015 Data Breach Industry Forecast (registration required to view).

"It has been an explosive year with an increase in the number of data breaches and identity theft cases over last year," said Michael Bruemmer, vice president at Experian Data Breach Resolution, in a statement. "It is more important than ever for companies to prepare for a data breach and stay ahead of the game."

Experian’s white paper highlights six data breach trends that every top executive should prepare for in the coming year. The nation’s largest credit bureau based its predictions on interviews with security leaders and its experience helping companies manage more than 3,000 breaches in 2014.

What to Watch For in 2015 
Experian’s findings identify ongoing challenges such as increasing attacks on services and data in the cloud, and growing legal and regulatory scrutiny of corporate executives following a major data breach. However, there are three new trends to watch for in 2015, according to IT News.

  1. Credit card attacks may spike. Retailers face an October 2015 deadline to adopt point-of-sale systems capable of handling the more secure ”Chip and PIN” credit cards being issued. Hackers know this and are likely to launch attacks while it’s still easy to do so, said Experian.
  2. Healthcare breaches are a growing threat. Electronic medical records and the proliferation of wearable health and fitness devices give hackers more ways to access sensitive health information.
  3. Internet of Things offers new breach opportunities. According to Experian, “cyber attacks will likely increase via data accessed from third-party vendors” as companies adopt interconnected systems and products.

But That’s Not All
It’s not only a question of new external threats emerging in 2015. Experian also notes that employees will continue to be a leading cause of security incidents in the New Year.

That finding dovetails neatly with recent research conducted by Intralinks and the Ponemon Institute that examined the risks posed by unsecure employee file sharing. According to the report, some employees are behaving badly at work and sharing information without the right security controls in place.

For instance, more than 60 percent of those surveyed acknowledged that they:

  • Used personal file sharing or file sync and share (FSS) applications in the workplace
  • Sent unencrypted emails
  • Accidentally sent files to unauthorized parties

If you don’t think this is happening in your business, think again. To learn more about how ungoverned file sharing by employees threatens the organization, you can download a free copy of the report “Breaking Bad: The Risk of Unsecure File Sharing.” 

Steff Gelston

Steff Gelston

Steff Gelston is a professional journalist whose editorial career spans magazines, newspapers, and websites. She spent five years at International Data Group (IDG), including three years as a senior editor at CIO magazine with coverage oversight of IT staffing and the mid-market. Before joining IDG, Gelston was an assistant business editor at The Boston Globe. She has also worked for, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Business Journal.