The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is charged with a handful of functions covering privacy, freedom of information (FOI), and information policy.
Its responsibilities include conducting investigations; reviewing decisions made under the FOI Act; handling complaints; monitoring agency administration; and providing advice to the public, government agencies, and businesses. A year ago this week, it had its workload upped once more and was given the responsibility of handling Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme.
In the first year of operation, the OAIC received notification of 812 breaches.
Speaking during Senate Estimates in May last year, then-acting Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said her office was expecting around 500 breach disclosures to hit her office, telling the committee at the time there was “an increase in a number of matters” the OAIC was closing and that the challenge was to “manage responsibilities with the resources available”.
Now appointed as the Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner, Falk faced Senate Estimates on Tuesday, grilled again about the staffing numbers in her office.
“The Notifiable Data Breaches scheme has been a significant increase in workload,” she said, noting under the voluntary scheme that was previously in place, the OAIC received 114 breach notifications in a 12-month period.
“That has required the office to focus and prioritise on that work and inevitably because of the increased workload across all of our functions, it is leading to some extended periods of delay in actioning some of the work.”
Of specific concern to the senators was that appeals and requests for review are taking nearly a year to complete as result of the increased workload.
In the six months from July 2018, the OAIC received over 10,000 inquiries relating to both privacy and FOI. There were 524 requests to review FOI decisions — up 42 percent over the same period a year prior. 318 reviews were finalised during that same time.
There are currently 784 FOI Information Commissioner (IC) reviews on hand and 18 FOI matters that have been waiting 11 months to be assigned a case officer.
“We resolve over 50 percent of the privacy complaints through an early resolution model and similarly we have seen a success on the FOI side of the work in increasing the numbers,” Falk explained.
“Having said that, those matters, both in privacy and FOI that need to go to a full investigation are experiencing a delay to be allocated to an officer.”
Average time taken to resolve an IC review over the last three years has been 6-7 months.
In addition, from July through December 2018, 1,716 privacy complaints were received by the OAIC — a 22 percent increase over the same period a year prior. Of those, 1,410 have been resolved.
Refusing to tell Estimates overtly she wanted more staff — saying in May the OAIC boasted 75 full-time equivalent staff — Falk said her office was “working proactively” in terms of getting to the causes of the increase in matters. She said she was specifically looking into if there was “good FOI decision-making” in the first place and in terms of privacy, that there is good awareness around government and business of responsibilities.
“At the same time we are looking at our resourcing,” she conceded. “We are putting more focus on early resolution and that is bearing fruit and as well as that, looking at what our resourcing needs might be moving forward.”
Australians made over 19K privacy principle enquiries in 2017-18
2,947 privacy complaints were also received by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Reported breaches not painting complete picture of Australian security landscape
Although 63 data breaches were reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in less than six weeks, FireEye’s Mandiant has warned the figure is higher, but organisations are unsure if their breach fits the brief.
OAIC received 31 notifications in the first three weeks of data breach scheme
The OAIC has revealed to ZDNet it has received 31 notifications since the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme came into effect last month.
Eight reasons more CEOs will be fired over cybersecurity breaches (TechRepublic)
Security is everyone’s problem, but CEOs should make sure their organisation doesn’t block its success. Gartner offers eight situations for CEOs to avoid if a breach occurs within their organisation.
Notifiable Data Breaches scheme: Getting ready to disclose a data breach in Australia
Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches scheme will come into force next month. Here is what it means and how it will affect organisations, and individuals, in Australia.
Cloud Data Security
Data security has become an immutable part of the technology stack for modern applications. Protecting application assets and data against cybercriminal activities, insider threats, and basic human negligence is no longer an afterthought. It must be addressed early and often, both in the application development cycle and the data analytics stack.
The requirements have grown well beyond the simplistic features provided by data platforms, and as a result a competitive industry has emerged to address the security layer. The capabilities of this layer must be more than thorough, they must also be usable and streamlined, adding a minimum of overhead to existing processes.
To measure the policy management burden, we designed a reproducible test that included a standardized, publicly available dataset and a number of access control policy management scenarios based on real world use cases we have observed for cloud data workloads. We tested two options: Apache Ranger with Apache Atlas and Immuta. This study contrasts the differences between a largely role-based access control model with object tagging (OT-RBAC) to a pure attribute-based access control (ABAC) model using these respective technologies.
This study captures the time and effort involved in managing the ever-evolving access control policies at a modern data-driven enterprise. With this study, we show the impacts of data access control policy management in terms of:
- Dynamic versus static
In our scenarios, Ranger alone took 76x more policy changes than Immuta to accomplish the same data security objectives, while Ranger with Apache Atlas took 63x more policy changes. For our advanced use cases, Immuta only required one policy change each, while Ranger was not able to fulfill the data security requirement at all.
This study exposed the limitations of extending legacy Hadoop security components into cloud use cases. Apache Ranger uses static policies in an OT-RBAC model for the Hadoop ecosystem with very limited support for attributes. The difference between it and Immuta’s attribute-based access control model (ABAC) became clear. By leveraging dynamic variables, nested attributes, and global row-level policies and row-level security, Immuta can be quickly implemented and updated in comparison with Ranger.
Using Ranger as a data security mechanism creates a high policy-management burden compared to Immuta, as organizations migrate and expand cloud data use—which is shown here to provide scalability, clarity, and evolvability in a complex enterprise’s data security and governance needs.
The chart in Figure 1 reveals the difference in cumulative policy changes required for each platform configuration.
Figure 1. Difference in Cumulative Policy Changes
The assessment and scoring rubric and methodology is detailed in the report. We leave the issue of fairness for the reader to determine. We strongly encourage you, as the reader, to discern for yourself what is of value. We hope this report is informative and helpful in uncovering some of the challenges and nuances of data governance platform selection. You are encouraged to compile your own representative use cases and workflows and review these platforms in a way that is applicable to your requirements.
GigaOm Radar for Data Loss Prevention
Data is at the core of modern business: It is our intellectual property, the lifeblood of our interactions with our employees, partners, and customers, and a true business asset. But in a world of increasingly distributed workforces, a growing threat from cybercriminals and bad actors, and ever more stringent regulation, our data is at risk and the impact of losing it, or losing access to it, can be catastrophic.
With this in mind, ensuring a strong data management and security strategy must be high on the agenda of any modern enterprise. Security of our data has to be a primary concern. Ensuring we know how, why, and where our data is used is crucial, as is the need to be sure that data does not leave the organization without appropriate checks and balances.
Keeping ahead of this challenge and mitigating the risk requires a multi-faceted approach. People and processes are key, as, of course, is technology in any data loss prevention (DLP) strategy.
This has led to a reevaluation of both technology and approach to DLP; a recognition that we must evolve an approach that is holistic, intelligent, and able to apply context to our data usage. DLP must form part of a broader risk management strategy.
Within this report, we evaluate the leading vendors who are offering solutions that can form part of your DLP strategy—tools that understand data as well as evaluate insider risk to help mitigate the threat of data loss. This report aims to give enterprise decision-makers an overview of how these offerings can be a part of a wider data security approach.
Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Loss Prevention Platforms
Data is a crucial asset for modern businesses and has to be protected in the same way as any other corporate asset, with diligence and care. Loss of data can have catastrophic effects, from reputational damage to significant fines for breaking increasingly stringent regulations.
While the risk of data loss is not new, the landscape we operate in is evolving rapidly. Data can leave data centers in many ways, whether accidental or malicious. The routes for exfiltration also continue to grow, ranging from email, USB sticks, and laptops to ever-more-widely-adopted cloud applications, collaboration tools, and mobile devices. This is driving a resurgence in the enterprise’s need to ensure that no data leaves the organization without appropriate checks and balances in place.
Keeping ahead of this challenge and mitigating the risk requires a multi-faceted approach. Policy, people, and technology are critical components in a data loss prevention (DLP) strategy.
As with any information security strategy, technology plays a significant role. DLP technology has traditionally played a part in helping organizations to mitigate some of the risks of uncontrolled data exfiltration. However, both the technology and threat landscape have shifted significantly, which has led to a reevaluation of DLP tools and strategy.
The modern approach to the challenge needs to be holistic and intelligent, capable of applying context to data usage by building a broader understanding of what the data is, who is using it, and why. Systems in place must also be able to learn when user activity should be classified as unusual so they can better interpret signs of a potential breach.
This advanced approach is also driving new ways of defining the discipline of data loss prevention. Dealing with these risks cannot be viewed in isolation; rather, it must be part of a wider insider risk-management strategy.
Stopping the loss of data, accidental or otherwise, is no small task. This GigaOM Key Criteria Report details DLP solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products in this sector that excel. Together, these reports will give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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