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Wednesday, 30 September 2015 11:50

Data privacy protections lacking, says ISACA

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Data privacy protections lacking, says ISACA Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Ensuring the privacy of sensitive data is seemingly a problem for many companies, with a newly published study revealing that consumers should not feel confident those companies are adequately protecting their information.

The survey of 546 privacy and risk professionals by global IT association ISACA found that more than half of them have no confidence in the protection of consumer data.

Nor is there a great deal of confidence within those enterprises about their ability to ensure the privacy of their own sensitive data.

Only 29% of respondents said they were very confident of ensuring privacy of that data and nearly one in five said they have experienced a material privacy breach.

Respondents to the ISACA survey cited complex international legal and regulatory landscape and lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities as the two main barriers to establishing a successful privacy program.

And, the most commonly reported privacy failures were:

•         Lack of training or poor training

•         Data breach/leakage

•         Not performing a risk assessment

On a brighter note, however, more than 9 in 10 organisations say they have assigned someone to be accountable for privacy, with the primary positions given this responsibility being CISOs and chief privacy officers (CPOs) who report directly to the CEO.

Additionally, the majority (76%) of organisations provide privacy awareness training to staff.

“Organisations with effective privacy programs understand that these programs begin with a system of governance and management, and are supported by a team with defined privacy responsibilities,” said Yves Le Roux, chair of ISACA’s Privacy Working Group and principal consultant of CA Technologies.

According to ISACA, the seven key components of an effective privacy program are:

1.      Appropriate staffing

2.      Positioning of privacy function at a high level in the organisation chart

3.      Privacy-protection culture

4.      Privacy awareness training

5.      Globally accepted frameworks/standards

6.      Metrics and monitoring program effectiveness

7.    Compliance with data-protection legal requirements

ISACA says it will use the survey data to help create additional privacy guidance, including a set of guiding principles in 2016.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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