Identity Theft Response Units Needed

The nightmare scenario is a data breach that involves sensitive, confidential data. This could be a government agency, an educational institution, private business… the list is extensive. None of these people are prepared to respond to a security breach. It is not something that an agency or a business trains to do. As such, well meaning people are forced to learn as they go forward in handling a breach of what could involve hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of personal information files.

What needs to be put in place are response teams from national or state agencies. When a data breach happens, a central agency is notified and a team is dispatched. This team would not only be police officials but it would include technologists, forensic experts, public relations specialists, media co-ordinators, credit / finance experts and so forth. It would be a complete identity response team to manage the damage and its impact.

A data breach can cost millions. There is the credit monitoring for the people whose data have been compromised. There may be litigation. Some of the people may suffer financial lose. And the impact of the public perception of poor security management may have long term consequences. The response to a data breach has to be multi-faceted. The advantage of the hackers and thieves is that few (if any) of their victims are prepared for a rapid response. National, well trained identity theft units could mitigate that advantage significantly.

Catherine Forsythe