Hoffman data breach exposes security challenges
The challenges dealing with protecting data have been highlighted in a breach involving Hoffman, one of the largest general contractors headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.
On December 16, Hoffman "discovered" that an unauthorized individual may have accessed information relating to its self-insured health plan between July 31-August 4, 2020. The breach covered employee names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and benefits information.
The information was released publically on February 12 2021.
As part of the investigation, an independent computer forensic firm was engaged to help determine "what happened and whether any personal information had been accessed without authorization".
Hoffman has no indication that any information was actually viewed by the unauthorized person, or that it has been misused. However, out of caution, Hoffman recommends that its current and former employees, and their beneficiaries and dependents, review any statements that they receive from their healthcare providers or health insurer.
According to the Cost of a Data Breach Study | IBM, the average time to identify and contain a breach is 280 days. The US is the most expensive country, at $8.64 million, and the average breach costs $3.86 million, according to the report.
It advises companies to align their security strategy to the business, protect digital assets, users and data, manage defences against growing threats and modernize security with an open, multi-cloud strategy.
A report from Market Research Engine projected that The Data Protection Market is expected to grow from $120 billion by 2023 and to exceed $194.11 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 15.9%.
Cybersecurity is now firmly positioned as C-suite risk "and should be a regular topic of conversation at Board level," according to AON. It highlights the following key threats:
- Ransomware – a malicious programme which locks access to company files and data until a ransom payment is made, after which time access may be restored.
- Payment interception – criminals are able to compromise the email account or credentials of an individual inside the organization to authorize a change to the bank account details for large payments
- Phishing – malicious emails designed to look like genuine emails which encourage employees to click – infecting their computers in the process.
- Viruses – code which infects computer system, corrupting or deleting data.
- Hacking – an individual or group attempting to gain access to company systems with the intent to steal or destroy data.
BT and Microsoft unveil strategic partnership
BT and Microsoft have launched a strategic partnership to accelerate innovation across enterprise voice, cyber security and industry-focused services in sectors from digital manufacturing to health.
BT has already been named one of the first development partners for Microsoft Operator Connect and Operator Connect Conferencing. The renewed agreement will allow BT to build on this relationship and offer its own branded global managed voice services directly through Microsoft Teams, with an approach that further enhances customer experience and creates new opportunities for growth.
The strategic partnership will build on BT’s existing portfolio of cyber security services built on Microsoft technology. It will see the companies push forward with the design and launch of a new generation of managed security services to enable and protect the modern collaborative workplace. BT will work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers’ operations across the cloud as well as its own IT estate.
Sustainability and collaboration on digital skills are integral to the partnership. BT and Microsoft will work together on further enhancing sustainability credentials within their supply chains and join forces on promoting digital skills in the communities.
“BT and Microsoft are at the forefront of innovation in global digital platforms and connectivity that will take technology and communication beyond limits,” said Bas Burger, CEO of Global at BT and executive sponsor of BT’s partnership with Microsoft. “This partnership will ensure all of Microsoft’s solutions work ‘Best on BT’ and support both companies’ commitments to improving digital skills in the community.”
Omar Abbosh, corporate vice president of industry solutions at Microsoft, said: “BT can use Microsoft’s cutting-edge tools to develop new communications services that meet the needs and demands of today’s customers. By aligning our visions for communication, connectivity, security and digital technology, Microsoft and BT will support real growth for businesses across the world.”
Microsoft's vision is to transform construction and built environment businesses with design innovation, a supply chain you can control, and a connected, safer, more productive workforce.
Microsoft recently unveiled strong results for the quarter ending June 30:
- Revenue totalled $46.2 billion, up 21%
- Operating income was $19.1 billion, up 42%
- Net income was $16.5 billion, up 47%
- Diluted earnings per share was $2.17, up 49%
For the year, revenues totalled $168.1 billion (up 18%), operating income hit $69.9 billion (up 32%), net income was $61.3 billion GAAP and $60.7 billion non-GAAP, and increased 38% and 37%, respectively.
“We are innovating across the technology stack to help organizations drive new levels of tech intensity across their business,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Our results show that when we execute well and meet customers’ needs in differentiated ways in large and growing markets, we generate growth, as we’ve seen in our commercial cloud – and in new franchises we’ve built, including gaming, security, and LinkedIn, all of which surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue over the past three years.”
In a trading update last month, BT reported profit after tax £2m, down £446m, due to a "one-off tax charge in the quarter to reflect the remeasurement of deferred tax balances following the enactment of the new UK corporation tax rate of 25% from April 2023".