A new report published by Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner's Office found that the number of data breaches in the country grew by a shocking 350 percent last year. However, the increase may not be as detrimental as it seems.
According to the report, the DPC received 410 data breach notifications from 123 different organizations last year. By comparison, in 2009, the office received only 119 notifications from 86 organizations.
While the number is startling, the commissioner reported that the sharp rise is actually attributable to the introduction of a new code of practice, which was implemented in July last year. Under the new code, organizations face much stricter standards regarding transparency, particularly in the financial and medical industries.
"Ultimately the tighter controls and greater transparency demanded by the code will contribute to greater confidence among data subjects that their personal data will be managed in a responsible manner by public and private sector organizations," the report stated. "As the legal context in regard to mandatory data security breach notification changes across Europe, Irish organizations will be well-placed to adapt, thanks to their experience of the code."
The report did highlight a number of the more noteworthy data breaches of the past year. The largest incident involved the Gaelic Athletic Association, which saw the names and addresses of 500,000 of its members compromised. Additionally, the breach also included phone number, dates of birth, email addresses and medical information for many of the association's members.
Organizations in all areas of the world are advised to bolster their data security practices to prevent similar data breaches. In addition to sizable fines from industry and government regulators, organizations affected by data breaches often suffer reputational damage and loss of customer trust.