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12/20/2007
11:17 AM
Tom LaSusa
Tom LaSusa
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Need For Security Looming Larger In 2008

Hey, great news! Everyone's finally starting to take data security seriously. It only took what, countless thefts, misplaced laptops, unprotected networks, greedy employees, a lack of policies, and the threats of massive and costly legalities to get us all on board?

Hey, great news! Everyone's finally starting to take data security seriously. It only took what, countless thefts, misplaced laptops, unprotected networks, greedy employees, a lack of policies, and the threats of massive and costly legalities to get us all on board?

Actually, I'm being sarcastic -- truth is not everyone's on board yet. But just about everyone's taking notice.

I know I'm going to be pointing out the big ol' elephant in the room here, but 2007 was not a good year for data protection and privacy. We started off in January with TJX's customer data debacle. Just recently, officials in Great Britain announced that the records of more than 3 million U.K. residents learning to drive vanished from a data warehouse here in the United States (the data actually went missing in May). Meanwhile, tucked between the other 10 months are countless more tales of misplaced or misappropriated data.

Thankfully, heads are starting to turn (probably because a bunch have started to roll), and the decision is coming down within many organizations: Security shouldn't be a tack-on or a side note. Even the typically fence-sitting senior execs, wary about any extra spending, are now starting to admit that the benefits of enacting security policies far exceed any headaches that might come with implementing and upholding them. Good thing, too -- the cost of data loss is skyrocketing: the average cost for a single missing customer record is around $200, and with records vanishing millions at a time, well you do the nauseating math.

It's just a little frustrating that its taken so many incidents to get people on board. Just like the farmer who closes the barn door after the cows are gone, folks are beginning to realize (in some cases a little too late) that there may be something to all this data security prevention stuff after all.

2008 is going to have to be the year where everyone pitches in to protect the company data. I'm not just talking about working late hours to implement software, either. I'm talking even doing something as simple as while you're walking down the hallway at the end of the day, jiggle the doorknobs of your co-worker's offices to make sure they're locked. Sounds stupid? Maybe -- but I prefer knowing my cows are safe in the barn for the night.

What will your company do to get a better handle on customer data in the coming year? Share your thoughts below.

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