2009 Data Loss: Overlooking Important Points When Viewing Statistics
The end of a year is a time to look back and reflect on positive and negative incidents that have occurred in the past 12 months. Some people make a more general, qualitative assessment about performance, and others look at hard numbers and come to conclusions that way. Although there are many different ways of analyzing performance, it is important to ask yourself if the paradigm you’re using to assess improvement in any situation is hiding another truth. This applies all business matters, but right now we’ll focus on business IT. To demonstrate this concept, we’ll use the following example.
This year, as far as the number of data breaches is concerned, may seem like an improvement when we view last year’s numbers (2008). However, as Andy Greenberg points out in Forbes.com's November 24, 2009 article, The Year of the Mega Data Breach, it’s superficial to assume that data loss has decreased this year. This is a great observation. This is mainly because, according to Greenberg, “the number of personal records that were exposed [in 2009]--data like Social Security numbers, medical records and credit card information tied to an individual--that hackers exposed has skyrocketed to 220 million records so far this year, compared with 35 million in 2008.”
Forbes notes that the statistics at the
It’s important to be aware of the assumptions made based on the more obvious statistics in any situation. Sometimes you have to dig deeper for meaning in those large statistics and analyze the wording. Ask yourself if the words used to describe a statistic lead you to believe something other than getting at the core of whatever issue you face.
This post is in response to Forbes.com’s 11/24/09 article, The Year of the Mega Data Breach, by Andy Greenberg.
Written by Melissa Cocks, NSK Inc.