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Continued: Digital devices turn up the heat on corporate risk managers

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 19, 2013 - 12:12 PM

Jeffrey: Everyone can relate to laptops being stolen or phones being stolen. My buddy was in a New York deli and set his phone down for a minute and it was stolen. Those things happen all the time. Our laptops are highly encrypted, but that is not standard across the board. In 2005, TJ Maxx had credit card data stolen for 45.6 million customers that resulted in a $4.5 billion loss. Hackers are looking for branded names to get into all the time.

Cullen: Most of us have received letters from a bank or a credit card company about potential breaches of their security.


Q: How do you mitigate loss of data?

Jeffrey: Most breaches happen from the inside, either intentionally or unintentionally — responding to a phishing attempt, for instance. Prevention really starts with good policies and procedures. That can involve such simple things as just classifying data — what type needs to be confidential and what doesn’t. You should store confidential data on a secure drive that is encrypted. You should have good password control. This is not rocket science. It’s about knowing the risks that are out there. We’re seeing clients move confidential data to the cloud or data centers.


Q: Can security be improved?

Cullen: Hackers are getting smarter. You have to keep up with what’s happening in the world. Hackers go to the weakest point. It’s hard to get inside the Bank of America but Bank of America works with a lot of smaller companies, and hackers go to the path of least resistance.

Jeffrey: I think we’ll see biometric security features like fingerprint scanners, although someone has already figured out how to crack that. None of that is bulletproof by any stretch. With the growing use of smartphones to pay for items, security around that is going to become more and more important. Authentication questions like your dog’s name or the street where you grew up or your mom’s maiden name can all be found on Facebook. You have to watch what you put on social media. It all starts with common sense.


David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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  • One of Christopher Jeffrey’s specialties these days is advising clients on how to protect confidential information that employees carry on mobile devices.

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