Reduce 'data glut' to keep truly valuable health info safe

When it comes to companies and healthcare entities retaining data, having too much information floating around may hinder security efforts. 

"Data glut" causes companies to have to spend more time and money trying to monitor and prevent loss of information that may not even have any productive value, Brian E. Finch, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and Brian T. Fox, a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers, write in the Wall Street Journal.

Entities should work to reduce their electronic storage profiles, they say.

In the U.S., healthcare is at the top of the list of industries struggling to keep data secure, and recent cyberattacks have put the personal information of millions of patients at risk. An attack on payer Anthem compromised consumer information including names, birthdays, addresses, email addresses, employment information and Social Security/member identification numbers.

"With lesser amounts of data to protect, the company will better be able to manage the security profile of truly valuable data, and monitor who has accessed it and why," Finch and Fox write.

When it comes to access of all that data, some patient advocates in the health industry also have questioned the number of people who have their hands in the system.

Finch and Fox add that cutting out information not of use to an organization can free up time and space for it to protect data that is truly valuable.

"Going on a data diet ... so as to focus on protecting what truly matters, can and should be an important layer of a company's cyberdefense," they write.

To learn more:
- read the article