With new technology comes new dangers. Data breaches are a crippling threat to businesses nationwide for multiple reasons: business security has failed its customers and their information is unsafe (whether it be financial or medical), companies lose money when it is time to repay or monitor its customers by hiring third parties, and employees actually suffer job loss from these devastating breaches.
The Identity Theft Resource Center's Data Breach Reports defines a breach as "an incident in which an individual name plus a Social Security number, driver's license number, medical record or financial record (credit/debit cards included) is potentially put at risk because of exposure. This exposure can occur either electronically or in paper format." As of December 16th, the ITRC recorded 744 breaches with over 81 million informational records compromised. Big businesses such as Home Depot, Target, Michael's, Neiman Marcus, and Bebe are victims of data breaches.
Firstly, data breaches can cause massive monetary damage. Elizabeth Weise from USA Today says, "Companies need [breach insurance] because they have to pay up when their customers get hit." The average monetary loss is $188.00 per customer hacked, which the company is required to pay back. Even a small business of 1,000 customers is then required to pay $188,000. Breach insurance can be expensive, but so can being the victim of a cyber attack.
Insurance and monetary compensation are possible solutions. However, most people do not realize the effects of security breaches on those in charge of business security. Data attacks can result in job loss. These job losses include Beth Jacob, CIO of Target; Maricopa County Community College District director, Miguel Corzo; head of Utah's Department of Health's technology department, Stephen Fletcher; and an Accretive Health employee responsible for the loss of an unencrypted laptop filled with sensitive healthcare information on over 23,000 patients.
When it comes to data breaches, there seems to be a greater margin of job penalty in the field of healthcare. Aside from the few mentioned above, Goold Health Systems fired an employee this year for downloading patient information onto a USB drive and then losing it. Highmark, Inc. fired a mail room employee for an error which disclosed over 3,500 patients' Medicare information without authorization. Two Georgia Hospital employees were fired for improperly disposing of an unencrypted desktop including information on over 6,500 patients. Boston Medical Center fired a third-party vendor after realizing they had posted data from 15,000 patients to the website without password protection.
Whether via carelessness, accident, or the work of a hacker, customer information must be taken seriously, especially when it pertains to healthcare. The lack of security can result in job loss. This is not a new issue: in 2006, four healthcare employees of Providence Health Care were fired for the theft of 365,000 healthcare patients' medical records. Thankfully, a security vendor was hired, and patients could sign up for information restoration and monitoring.
However, the healthcare business demographic accounts for almost half of ITRC's recorded data breaches, with hacking as the cause for more than a third of these breaches. Healthcare records provide a wealth of information, making them a huge target for cyber attacks. Because of this, federal law and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (also known as HIPAA) require security methods such as encryption of medical data to ensure a company remains protected from a data breach.
Businesses are going to have to continue to be vigilant in implementing their security strategies.
With Giva, security is of the utmost importance. This is why Giva is has worked to become HIPAA-compliant, with its cloud software complying with strict regulations, helping keep their healthcare - and all - customers' information safe.