Risk of data breach a trade-off of technology use

Tuesday’s data breach affected up to 100,000 Bell Canada customers whose names and email addresses may have been illegally accessed by a third party.

In recent months, many companies have fallen prey to similar data breaches, causing cyber security to continue to be a grave concern for businesses.

Teju Herath, Goodman School of Business Associate Professor of Information Systems at Brock University, teaches courses on information assurance and says these types of risks are inherent because of how much technology is used.

“We live in an era where there is so much data captured by technology that is so prolifically used,” she says. “Sometimes there is little we can do to overcome the risk of data breaches like these.”

According to Herath, companies need to plan ahead for a possible data breach so that they can react appropriately.

“The first thing companies need to do is be forthcoming and transparent in their communications and contact the affected parties right away,” she says.

“Companies are disclosing this information more openly all the time, and proposed changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act are positive because it would make it a legal requirement to disclose information in cases like this. The second thing companies need to do is resolve why it happened through due diligence.”

Herath says to reduce their risk of being affected by information security issues, computer users should regularly change their passwords, think twice before clicking on unexpected email attachments and back up files on a regular basis.

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