Six steps Australian business should take to prepare for new data breach legislation

By Tom Wadlow
Australian companies will soon be facing new rules around the reporting of data breaches. The impending mandatory data breach notification scheme will...

Australian companies will soon be facing new rules around the reporting of data breaches.

The impending mandatory data breach notification scheme will require closer collaboration between legal and IT departments across businesses in all industries, according to Palo Alto Networks.

The company’s Vice President and Chief Security Officer for APAC, Sean Duca, explained: “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.

“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.”

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A recent report by Palo Alto Networks, The State of Cybersecurity in Asia Pacific, shows that Australian organisations are indeed likely to embrace mandatory breach reporting requirements.

It revealed that 79% of IT decision-makers agreed that reporting breaches to regulators should be mandatory and 69% believe reporting of data breaches to regulators will help prevent cybercrime.

In light of these findings and the upcoming new requirements, Palo Alto Networks outlines six steps businesses IT and legal departments can take to prepare for the mandatory data breach notification scheme:

  1. Review the organisation’s data collection practices and policies, and ensure personal information is collected and stored only if necessary.
  2. 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.
  3. Consider how internal data-handling and data-breach policies should be updated to reflect the new requirements.
  4. Conduct table top exercises to test the effectiveness of the organisation’s incident response plan.
  5. Review steps in place to avoid data breaches (for example, physical security of laptops and papers, cybersecurity strategies, or ways to reduce administrative errors).
  6. 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.
     

Duca added: “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.”

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