The Security Scrutinizer with Howard Anderson

Backup Tape Encryption: How Common? Recent Breaches Call Attention to Protecting Storage Media

HealthcareInfoSecurity's inaugural Healthcare Information Security Today survey shows that half of healthcare organizations encrypt backup tapes. By comparison, 60 percent apply encryption to mobile devices and 70 percent encrypt information transmitted over public networks.

This week, we learned that Nemours, a children's healthcare provider, offered free credit protection to 1.6 million individuals affected by the loss of three unencrypted backup tapes. In another recent incident, TRICARE, the military health program, announced that 4.9 million individuals were being alerted to a breach involving unencrypted backup tapes stolen from the car of a business associate's employee.

Some 43 percent of organizations rate their ability to counter external and internal information security threats as poor, failing or in need of improvement. 

So if you're using backup tapes, you might want to consider encryption to avoid grabbing headlines with the next breach. In addition, security consultant Rebecca Herold offers several other valuable tips for protecting tapes, as highlighted in a recent blog. She also notes that many organizations are considering cloud computing backup options as a potential way to mitigate certain risks.

In our new survey, 43 percent of participating organizations rate their ability to counter external and internal information security threats as poor, failing or in need of improvement. One area of needed improvement for many, it seems, is protecting storage media.

We'll provide a complete analysis of all the survey results in the coming weeks.



About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

News Editor, ISMG

Howard J. Anderson is news editor of Information Security Media Group and was founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 34 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.




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