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  • BONUM Staff

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)

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

Must Reads:

Consumer Reports: How to protect yourself from Identity Theft

FTC: Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business

Good to Knows:

IBM & Ponemon: 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study

Experian 2018 Data Breach Industry Forecast

A Source for Statistics: Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

S.2179 - Data Security and Breach Notification Act

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