Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Privacy breaches, workplace safety should have same priority

10 February 2014

Privacy breaches should have same priority as workplace safety

Barely a month goes by when privacy breaches – by mostly government agencies like ACC, the Earthquake Commission and DHBs – aren’t in the headlines, but the gap is unlikely to be plugged so long as decision makers look to technology for the whole solution.

Chief Executive of New Zealand IT consulting and software development company Designertech, Ray Delany, said today that headlines like ‘ACC privacy breach probed’, ‘DHB acts to protect patient privacy’ and ‘IT policies threaten pupils' privacy’ may actually be prevented with low tech human solutions.

Mr Delany said part of the problem is that the overwhelming focus of IT is on efficiency even when, in some cases, efficiency is not necessarily a good thing.

“Most of the privacy breaches have been very kitchen sink level from an IT perspective. For example, somebody sends an email somewhere they shouldn’t. That’s the equivalent of turning on the wrong switch at the kitchen stove.

“More often than not, organisations think of technology in terms of how to improve efficiencies and increase productivity, when they might be better served by an understanding of their own priorities. For example, when client privacy is more important than efficiency.”

Mr Delany said three factors are critical to safeguarding client privacy:

• The culture of the organisation
• IT governance and policies
• Technology based checks and balances

“In terms of the culture of an organisation, we regularly encounter a fairly recent set of naïve beliefs that people hold, such as the perception that all email is miraculously private. It’s one thing to do something deliberately, but in most instances people are doing things without having the faintest idea that it is a risk.”

A review by Government chief information officer Colin MacDonald released last year found that 73 per cent of agencies did not have formal security standards and procedures in place.

“Don’t for one moment think it is only Government that has this problem – it’s just as widespread in the private sector. Technology is evolving so fast and people are working under increasing time pressures and workloads, so it’s inevitable that privacy breaches will continue.

Suggested solutions
“A good governance structure is critical, but so is having those policies and procedures deeply embedded in the thinking people and their workplaces, particularly where an organisation is used to shifting large quantities of data around on email.”

Mr Delany said one solution is to learn from the workplace safety industry.

“For example, simple signage and education programmes similar to those used by workplace safety officers can help change thinking about privacy.

“What is certain is that the overall governance of information management and strategy should no longer be neglected or relegated behind productivity because it is perceived as a cost rather than a profit activity.

“Companies and government organisations are learning the painful lesson that focusing on the human element is as much IT related as hardware, and also the more cost effective approach. Training people is cheaper than spending half a million on IT infrastructure,” he said.

Technology solutions that may be implemented are by no means fool proof, but can be designed to work in sync with human behaviour.

For example, some organisations could consider configuring rules into the IT system that prohibit the attachment of certain types of files to emails, as well as specifying certain file types or instituting a ten minute delay before an email goes.

“It is not difficult to come up with easy and cost effective solutions that force people to think before they act, or which undo actions before any consequence or errors occur. Knowing that, there is no excuse for privacy breaches,” he said.

About Designertech
Designertech is an innovative and successful IT support, product development and consulting company with specific emphasis on business outcomes based on strong relationships between people, technology and systems in order to provide tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of clients.

Through its core philosophy of finding ways for people and machines to work better together, Designertech has enjoyed excellent results with products like MailMarshall and also productive relationships with iconic New Zealand success stories such as Mainfreight, Plunket and Tegel.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Maritime: Navigation Safety Review Raises Big Issues For The Govt

Shipping Federation: "The reports makes it clear that the ratification of the Maritime Labour convention (MLC) is long overdue. Only when the MLC is ratified will Maritime NZ be able to inspect and enforce the labour conditions on international ships visiting our ports." More>>

ALSO:

100 Years After Einstein Prediction: Gravitational Waves Found

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. More>>

ALSO:

Farming: Alliance Plans To Start Docking Farmer Payments

Alliance Group, New Zealand's second-largest meat cooperative, plans to start withholding some stock payments to its farmers from next week to bolster its balance sheet and force suppliers to meet their share requirements. More>>

ALSO:

Gambling: SkyCity First Half Profit Rises 30%, Helped By High Rollers

SkyCity anticipates the Auckland business will benefit from government gaming concessions which were triggered on Nov. 11 in recognition of SkyCity’s $470 million Convention Centre development. Morrison said the concessions would allow the Auckland business to lift its activity during peak period, noting it had a record revenue week over the Christmas and New Year period. More>>

ALSO:

Money For Light: Kiwi Scientists Secure Preferential Access To Synchrotron

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced a three-year investment of $2.8 million in the Australian Synchrotron, the largest piece of scientific infrastructure in the Southern Hemisphere, to secure preferential access for Kiwi scientists. More>>

Telco Industry Report: Investment Hits $1.7 Bln A Year

Investment in the telecommunications sector is $1.7 billion a year, proportionately one of the highest levels in the OECD, according to a report released today on the status of the New Zealand sector. More>>

ALSO:

PGPs: New Programme Sets Sights On Strong Wool

A new collaboration between The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), announced today, aims to deliver premiums for New Zealand's strong wool sector... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news