Recent data from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse indicates that banks and other financial institutions are doing a good job protecting their customer's data. The clearinghouse's information also shows that other industries can do a better job at maintaining the privacy and security of customer information.
According to the official Chronology of Data Breaches, there were almost 3000 separate incidents in the years spanning 2005-2012. This may not sound like very many breaches, but in total, these incidents involved the exposure of more than 500 million separate data records. These figures apply to all industries, not merely those that form part of the financial sector.
Financial institutions would appear to be over-represented in the data, which would at first lead to the conclusion that they are not doing well at protecting customer information. However, a closer look at the trend lines over the course of more than five years shows that even though breach incidents remain high, the number of individual data records being compromised is trending downward. At the moment, the trend line is not as strong as privacy advocates would wish, however.
Privacy and security outcomes can be improved through the adoption of a managed programs model for IT services and support. In this model, staff from an IT company visit a firm's premises on a regular basis to perform scheduled maintenance and to oversee the data security measures already in place. A managed programs model means that trained and qualified staff are regularly running reports and making sure that all systems are functioning normally and have been updated as needed to stay current with the threat environment.