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Ponemon Institute Finds Data Breaches Are Increasing - Are You Ready?

With the number of high-profile data breaches that have occurred recently (JPMorgan, Home Depot and Dairy Queen among the list), it should come as no surprise that the frequency of data breaches has increased. According to an annual study conducted by the Ponemon Institute (an organization which does independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy), a staggering 43% of companies have experienced a data breach in the past year. This figure increased 10 percent in one year according to the Institute...and shows no sign of stopping.

There is good news. The study surveyed 567 executives in the U.S. and found that 73% of companies now have data breach response plans in place, compared to 61% of organizations polled in 2013. Despite the fact that more organizations appear to be more proactive about protecting data, relatively few have actually practiced their protection plans in a meaningful way as the study found that only 21% of executives believed their companies were "effective" in executing a data breach response plan. There are many barriers to an effective response plan, as outlined by the study:

· The plans are not reviewed in a timely manner - 41% of respondents said they had no set time for reviewing or updating the plan.

· The company's board of directors, chairman, and/or CEO are not engaged in breach response planning. Shockingly, only 36% of these officials have requested to be notified as soon as possible when a material data breach occurs.

· Employee training and awareness of a plan is lacking.

· Data breach detection technologies are not employed. These technologies can include anti-virus, mobile device management systems, or intrusion prevention systems, among others.

Data breaches are increasingly becoming a question of when, not if. So, the question is: are you prepared? At McBrayer, our corporate law attorneys are ready to help you construct a plan unique to your business that outlines preventive measures and what to do in the event a breach occurs. Further, McBrayer is ready to help assist with the legal and public relations ramifications that result when confidential information is exposed. Breaches happen, but the response to them can make or break a business. Don't be a statistic - get a plan in place and rest assured it will be effective with the help of McBrayer.

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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