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How businesses can prepare for the Notifiable Data Breaches legislation

23 Jan 2018

Australian organisations are likely to embrace mandatory data breach reporting requirements and most businesses believe it should be mandatory, according to research from Palo Alto Networks.

79% of IT decision makers believe reporting should be mandatory and 69% believe mandatory reporting will do its part in preventing cybercrime.

 “To stay ahead of cyber criminals, it’s important that businesses see the value in voluntarily sharing cyberthreat information with other businesses and with government,” comments Palo Alto Networks VP APAC, Sean Duca.

“There needs to be a framework around the types of information shared so that businesses feel comfortable sharing cyberthreat information with each other. This is the only way Australian organisations will be able to implement a cybersecurity posture oriented around prevention of data breaches rather than the far more expensive cure.”

Information sharing between public and private sectors is key to understanding threats, the company believes.

“Collaboration and engagement between IT, risk and legal departments is critical and essential in preparing for the commencement of the mandatory data breach notification and managing risk generally,” adds King and Wood Mallesons partner Cheng Lim.

There are six ways IT and legal departments can prepare for the mandatory breach notification scheme:

- Review the organisation’s data collection practices and policies, and ensure personal information is collected and stored only if necessary.
- Audit security risks to personal information held by the organisation and any held by third parties (such as cloud providers) on the organisation’s behalf.
- Consider how internal data-handling and data-breach policies should be updated to reflect the new requirements.
- Conduct table top exercises to test the effectiveness of the organisation’s incident response plan.
- Review steps in place to avoid data breaches (for example, physical security of laptops and papers, cybersecurity strategies, or ways to reduce administrative errors).
- Review contract management and ensure due diligence on contractors’ policies and appropriate contractual terms, particularly in the areas of dealing with data breaches, IT security and personal information storage and collection.

“Organisations need to make sure their IT, risk and legal teams work together to put a solid breach notification and communication plan in place. Such a plan can help avoid the associated PR disasters and possible litigation that may follow a breach. It could be the difference between retaining or losing clients and reputation,” Duca continues.

“A proactive and collaborative approach is important as the legislation provides that notification of a data breach is not required if an organisation takes appropriate remedial action following the data breach, which results in serious harm not being likely to have been caused,” Lim concludes.

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