Computer Security Day reminds businesses to tighten digital security in the face of 2018 legislative changes

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International Computer Security Day falls on November 30th, urging businesses and individuals to consider the strength of their digital security.

An annual reminder to stay protected against diverse digital threats, Computer Security Day puts the spotlight on securing computers, networks, data, and mobile devices against threats. New legislation coming into play in February next year will make it even more imperative for businesses to manage their digital security wisely, from storage to distribution to destruction.

The first International Computer Security Day in 1988 marked a rising awareness of security issues associated with data and digitally stored information. The rapidly increasing amount of sensitive information being stored online makes it essential that personal device users remain aware of best-practice security measures.

Computer Security Day carries a potent message in 2017. Incidences of identity theft are increasing annually. Hackers and cyber criminals, human error, and system failures can compromise sensitive data both on- and offline, making digital security a concern for every Australian.

Digital security in Australia is set to spend more time in the limelight in 2018, with new legislation coming into play in February that will change the reporting process for businesses in the case of a data breach. Current Australian laws fall behind those of other countries, allowing businesses to decide whether or not they wish to report data breaches to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). As of next year, organisations will be required to inform the OAIC and affected customers when information is compromised.

The new legislation ensures that relevant parties are made aware when a data breach occurs, if it might compromise their digital security, physical safety, or reputation.

Business owners are heeding the reminder offered on November 30th. Storing sensitive customer information is commonplace and necessary for many organisations. However, publicised data breaches have been responsible for disrupting the reputation of Australian businesses in the past, with steep declines in customer trust and significant financial losses in the aftermath.

Most companies are already employing strict data security practices around data storage and distribution, says Dudley Kneller, lawyer and technology regulation specialist. Kneller spoke at an industry event in Melbourne for Avtel Data Destruction last month.

“Most organisations are either good or very good, particularly at the top end, at managing their live and current data… they’ve got all the systems in place, they’ve got backup, they’ve got virus patching, they have network security,” Kneller confirmed at the event.

The main concern for businesses in the face of tightening laws is end-of-life data.

“What organisations tend to forget — where they look to drop the ball — is in relation to end-of-life in their equipment,” Kneller said. He continued, saying businesses tend to disregard the information on retired equipment and “chuck it on the scrap heap,” causing a number of security and environmental concerns.

With the changes making publication of breaches compulsory, businesses are looking to new technologies to stay ahead of the game and ensure their continued security.

The safe destruction of data is certainly a growing concern with regards to security and reliability of processes, proper reporting, and environmental impact. New market-leading technologies are emerging in Australia that will ensure total destruction of end-of-life data in a safe, mobile, and environmentally friendly way.

In light of the changing global digital landscape and the legislative changes in Australia, International Computer Security Day this November is a timely reminder to businesses about the importance of digital security awareness at all the various stages of data lifespan.