Report: 2011 data breaches expose more than 368 million files

IT risk management was lacking for many organizations in 2011, as the year set the record for the most records ever exposed through data breaches. With more than 368 million sensitive files revealed, businesses nearly doubled the previous record of the 191 million, set in 2009, according to a report by Risk Based Security.

"This latest information and research conducted by Risk Based Security suggests that organizations in all industries need to take note that they face a very real threat from security breaches," the report said.

Several of the incidents that took place in 2011 rank among the most destructive breaches of all-time. The majority of these were caused by outsiders, as nearly 87 percent of all occurrences stemmed from external threats, RBS said. Hacking, in particular, accounted for 33 percent of the events.

As a result, businesses need to improve their IT risk management and data loss prevention techniques in order to avoid traversing the same path in 2012. For example, organizations that collect payment card data and are tasked with maintaining PCI compliance should consider encrypting all files. This will help companies remain secure, even if sensitive records are lost or exposed.

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