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Protect your data at all costs, if this latest scandal is anything to go by

By Shannon Williams
Tue 17 Jan 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Protect your data at all costs, if this latest scandal is anything to go by.

That’s the takeaway lesson from a recent news item appearing on the Sydney Morning Herald website this morning, detailing how a naughty former employee exported her company’s entire customer database before she exited the door.

According to an article by Jessica Sier, online fashion e-retailer Showpo is suing Black Swallow, a similar eCommerce business, which Showpo claims has used the database to market itself as an affiliate of Showpo.

The article says former Showpo employee Melissa Aroutunian exported the 306,000-strong customer database before she left the company, and passed it on to Black Swallow.

Rebecca Bradburne, head of Asia Pacific & Japan, BlackBerry Workspaces, says data theft cases like this one are not the rare.

“The security breach suffered by e-retailer, Showpo is unfortunately not an isolated incident, and companies need to start recognising the danger that comes from within,” Bradburne explains.

“In our conversations we see that businesses have put systems in place to protect data inside an organisation, but as soon as data leaves the four walls they are powerless to stop a breach,” she says.

“This makes them a sitting duck to attacks.”

The data allegedly stolen by Aroutunian included contact information of customers, contacts, buyers, suppliers, associates, competition entrants, web users and subscribers.

Author Sier writes, “MailChimp, which manages the email direct mail (EDM), has provided activity history that allegedly shows at 9.33pm on September 6, Ms Aroutunian's password was used to access the client contact list which was then exported to her home IP address.”

Black Swallow denies the allegations.

“Security is more than just IT and passwords – it needs to be viewed holistically by businesses,” says Bradburne.

“Without both a robust security policy and the right technology in place, these kind of high profile breaches will become more and more common.”

Bradburne says now is the time for businesses to get smarter about the technology they use and the policies they have in place.

“BlackBerry Workspaces (formerly known as Watchdox by BlackBerry) gives organisations the ability to maintain control over all corporate information in all circumstances,” she says.

“Used by organisations globally including Parliamentary Services of New Zealand, BlackBerry Workspaces allows companies to revoke access to data at any point, thus protecting information when it leaves the organisation,” says Bradburne.

“By implementing these type of technologies, Showpo could have avoided a breach and the implications it will have on the organisation’s reputation.”

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