Are we really in the middle of a data breach epidemic?

Davey Winder explains why the recent run of data breach headlines are really nothing to worry about

Yep, it's true that both regulatory and reputational pressures have meant more companies are willing to disclose breaches, which means we read about more of them. In turn this bolsters the impression that attacks are on the up and our data is at more risk than ever. That impression may, or may not, be correct.

7. There's more data out there

Well, there's certainly more data than there was ten years ago, or even ten minutes ago. The stuff multiplies constantly, but that isn't the same as there being more valuable data out there of course.

8. There's more valuable data out there

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I'm not convinced today's data is really much more valuable than it was yesterday, and that the hacking stakes (risk vs profit) have been raised as a result. My own investigations over the years suggest the real world value of the data being stolen is dropping faster than a hot brick. The Shadow Internet is awash with very cheap stolen data these days. It's a reflection of dark market forces in action: when supply outstrips demand then values fall.

9. Everyone is stupid

The argument that everyone from admins to end users are becoming increasingly careless with their information assets is not one I am going to take issue with.

10. This all adds up to a perfect insecurity storm

Possibly, but what the heck is that doing in the top ten list anyways? Surely it's really a top nine list, or more to the point a top five, when you discount the duplicated points and the conclusion being thrown in at number ten.

There's no denying that data security is a hot topic right now and that's not going to change any time soon.

Truth be told, though, it's been a hot topic for my entire career and all that changes are the specifics. There is no breach epidemic, data insecurity is just a self-inflicted wound. The big picture remains the same: identify your valuable data and invest in securing it accordingly. If you don't then one thing is certain, one day your company will be adorning the news section of IT Pro.

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