How to prepare for Australia’s new data breach notification scheme

By Addie Thomes

Australia’s forthcoming mandatory data breach notification will require closer collaboration between legal and IT departments across businesses in all industries.

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

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

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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.
     

Sean Duca Vice President and Chief Security Officer, APAC, Palo Alto Networks, commented: “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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