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2013 Year-end Highlights: 5 Major Trends in Data Breaches and IT Liability

2013 Year-end Highlights: 5 Major Trends in Data Breaches and IT Liability

A review of 2013 in data breaches and IT liability exposures for small technology firms.

Monday, December 30, 2013/Categories: cloud-security

Between the Edward Snowden saga and the botched Obamacare rollout, 2013 was a year filled with concerns about data security and tech liabilities. Think about it: two of the biggest stories of the year involved tech contractors. Who would have thought it?

As we look back on the last 12 months, we might ask: what were the biggest trends in data security this year? We've identity 5 data security concerns from 2013 that savvy IT professionals should pay attention to in 2014…

  • Bigger data breaches. Thirty-eight million users were affected by one data breach at Adobe. This breach then spilled over to affect those same users' accounts on Facebook and other pages. In 2013, a surprising number of breaches affected more than a million users.
  • Growing importance of software testing. What could cause Microsoft and Google to get along? Software testing. The two software giants teamed up to offer a new bug bounty program, which pays techies to find flaws in popular web software. This fits the general trend we've seen in 2013: tech companies of all sizes are investing more in software testing, and the market is expected to grow more than 10 percent in the next few years.
  • New attacks. Each year the composition of cyber attacks changes as cyber criminals develop new strategies. This year, ransomware attacks, which involve malware that encrypts user data and won't release it until users pay a fee, became much more common.
  • More awareness of IT contractor risks. With the botched Obamacare website rollout, suddenly every news agency was talking about IT contractors and problems coordinating among various contractors on a complex job. While the country didn't become experts in IT liabilities (though some newscasters pretended to be), the public showed a growing awareness that software is difficult to design and implement for large systems. These difficulties were reflected in the surprising number of ERP (or Enterprise Resource Planning) lawsuits, including this Oracle lawsuit costing tens of millions of dollars.
  • Questions about cloud computing liabilities. As cloud computing replaces more and more in-house infrastructure, many security experts have raised questions about its security. Check out our review of the concerns about cloud security.

In many ways, these trends were predictable. As the IT industry grows, liabilities and lawsuits grow with it. As IT solutions shift to the cloud, cyber criminals develop new methods of attack. So what can you take away from 2013?

If you're looking for a lesson, it's this: IT liability is about change. From month to month and software patch to software patch, IT professionals need to adapt with changing threats.

While we can't predict what 2014 has in store, we can be certain it will remain important for IT managers to stay on top of new trends in data security, develop risk management plans, and insure their small business from lawsuits and tech liabilities. 


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