Growing Corporate Concerns Over How to Safely Store Your Data

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HR Data Breaches Can Leave Holes in Corporate Pockets

Employee data breaches are becoming like leaky roofs for companies--frustrating but familiar. And as such, experts say, organizations are getting smarter about preventing the kind of personal information exposures that can anger workers and damage a firm's reputation.

Some employers have faced lawsuits related to breaches. And challenges persist when it comes to protecting employees' privacy, including the difficulty of safeguarding sensitive information when so many workers take computers home or on the road. But through steps such as training and data encryption, organizations are finding ways to keep a tight grasp on employee information.

"It is now a routine concern," says Doug Rosinski, an attorney with law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.

Serious issue

During the past few years, the issue of employee data breaches has come to the fore for businesses and workers. That's partly because of the related rash of consumer data exposures, in which banks and other organizations have lost control of key information. It also stems from the way millions of Americans have had to wrestle with the headache of identity theft.

What's more, a number of high-profile cases involving lost or stolen employee data have focused attention on the issue...MORE

With reports of numerous daily data breaches, it's easy to see why companies must take a leading role in fighting fraud to ensure the data they store is safeguarded from thieves! To illustrate just how vulnerable we all are to fraud, here's a couple of this weeks headlines...

Identity breach affects hospital
PIH employees' data compromised

WHITTIER - About 5,000 past and current employees at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital had their private information stolen, officials said Wednesday.

The data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, full names and other records stored on a desktop computer that was stolen from a Fullerton data management group on Feb. 11.

In addition to the 5,000 employees, another 35,000 identities from 18 other companies were stored on the computer, officials said.

According to hospital Human Resources Vice President Lon Orey, the employees will be given a one-year subscription to LifeLock, a group which tracks the user's information and guards it from illegal use.

"We take the treatment of employee information very seriously," Orey said, "and we will continue to do everything we can to protect them."

A letter informing employees that their information was in jeopardy was dated March13, more than a month after the breach.

Spokeswoman Terri Starkman said the hospital would not comment about the lapse between the theft and notification.


3 Auto Dealerships Closed in Identity theft Raid

HAMILTON -- Three auto dealerships are shut down as authorities said the owners have been aiding illegal immigrants in identity theft and buying cars without proper identification.

Seven people were arrested and dozens of indictments were unsealed Thursday, March 13, a day when Butler County sheriff's deputies and federal agents raided dealerships, looking for people allegedly producing fraudulent paperwork to buy vehicles for illegal immigrants.

About 20 law enforcement vehicles converged about 11:15 a.m. at Credit Auto Sales and Paul's Auto Sales and Service and Pay-Less Auto Sales on Ohio 4 in Hamilton, as well as Pay Less Auto Salvage in Middletown. In all, they arrested seven of the nine people sought for tampering with records and identity theft charges.

A Butler County grand jury handed down a total of 34 indictments against the individuals.

The investigation, dubbed Operation CAST (criminal auto sales and titles), took months of undercover work and the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security Administration, Immigrations Customs and Enforcement, and the county prosecutor's office, according to Sheriff Richard K. Jones. MORE

See also: You may fiercely protect your personal information...But what happens when "others" don't?

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