My Social Security Number (or EIN) Is...
No this isn't a commercial for an identity thief protection product, but rather a friendly reminder of the responsibility businesses have to protect the personal data of customers, employees, volunteers, and independent contractors; precautions to take; and resources to consider. The frequency of companies experiencing a data breach by industry is especially alarming for independent contractors that work across sectors.
$7.91 million, about $233 per record, is the average total cost of a data breach
On average 197 days to identify and 69 days to contain a breach
27% by human error, 25% system glitch, & 48% by malicious or criminal attack
(Ponemon Institute, 2018)
Data breaches happen-- an employee misplaces a bag or laptop; the wrong person accesses an unlocked cabinet or unshredded trash; or a database is hacked. The result can be devastating and expensive. While its all sorted out, the individual can be barred from getting loans or renting an apartment and the business can experience a loss of consumer trust or face a lawsuit.
Recommendations for Businesses:
Collect and release only the sensitive information you need
Give access only to the people that need the information
Keep the information protected
Train people to protect data
Keep data only as long as you need to or are required
Dispose of data properly
Plan for problems
Recommendations for the Individual:
Only give out your sensitive information when necessary
Keep a log of businesses that have your information
Ask how your information will be used and safe-guarded
When possible, ask for your information to be destroyed