What's The S In TSA Stand For?

from the dropping-the-ball dept

About 1200 former employees of the Transportation Security Administration have been notified they’re the latest victims of a government data leak, after a contractor sent them documents featuring other ex-employees’ personal information. This isn’t the first time a federal contractor has lost personal data: the VA’s second data loss of the summer happened when a desktop computer was stolen from another contractor, while vendors and consultants have a healthy track record of losing private-sector data too. While awareness of the importance of internal security procedures to protect data may be on the rise, the spate of data leaks by third parties doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A company can exert a decent amount of control over the security of its own systems, and dictate employee behavior, to ensure that data is properly secured, but when that data is given to third-party vendors and service providers, security is out of its hands. Perhaps because companies can pass the blame onto these third parties, they don’t put the same emphasis on their security procedures as they do their own internal systems. But the fact of the matter is that consumers don’t really care who’s to blame, and are likely to hold the company they deal with at fault. If more people ditch companies who leak their data, even if a third-party vendor is to blame, businesses will start taking the security of those vendors more seriously. Of course, the federal government doesn’t really have to worry about people ditching it for a competitor, so perhaps some other form of motivation is in order.

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Comments on “What's The S In TSA Stand For?”

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Mila (user link) says:

Appalling, but not surprising

The government is one of the biggest offenders of bad security policies… remember the Veteran’s Administration, Oregon Department of Revenue… or how about the FTC? All of these organizations have had experience with data breaches, yet no major changes have been made.
Every government organization, every business entity must make it their highest priority to secure sensitive customer, employee and corporate data. Failing to take this issue seriously will end up costing the organization much more than it would have to research and implement security solutions.

milkmage says:

heh.. happend to my company. one of our HMO auditors had a laptop stolen that had sensitivie info for employees on it. there were terms in the contract that said measures must be taken to protect the data. They lost the data – they lost the contract (we are a fortune 500 company) – if they weren’t taking it seriously before, they are now. auditors breeched the contract and have lost multi-million dollar customer.

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