2020 US census – data breaches looms large

Published: 24 July 2019
2020 US census

As the country is bracing itself for the 2020 census, the census bureau is deploying security measures of two-factor authentication, and encryption to protect potential leaks in data.  However, a few govt agencies opine that the census 2020 will employ new digital technologies like cloud, mobile computing, which might face cybersecurity risks – an attractive target for cyber attackers.

If we look at the data breach with social media major Facebook, they had nearly 30 million accounts affected with the data breach. Hackers were able to access personal data such as name, birth date, and other related information to leverage and compromise data integrity.  Very recently, credit reporting agency Equifax reported data breaches, that exposed personal information like addresses, social security numbers, driver licenses of over a 100 million people. Likewise, in the case of Yahoo and many other companies, data breaches have been reported as well.

Coming back to the case of 2020 US Census, the data will include information about every American citizen which contains date of birth, marital status, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. Such data, if accessed by hackers, can be juicy targets for misuse and manipulation for malicious intent.   Think, if a data breach occurs, data security is compromised in thousands and misuse of such data will largely have a social and political impact.

With heaps of such crucial data, concerns regarding access, data privacy, virus, and service disruptions rise and have a social impact on citizen’s confidence over the census 2020. Therefore, it is critical to protect and safeguard these digital identities and avoid data breaches.

As established, avoiding data breaches and protecting data is of prime importance.  Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution is the best answer to keep such digital identities secure and safe from cyber attackers.

To start with IAM, SSO is the first up solution, which will let end-users gain access to multiple applications with a single sign-on, i.e., using a single username and password, followed by a multi-factor authentication layer to provide more security to the login process.  Other solution layers can come in way of privileged access management, and cloud-based identity solutions.

Here are a few suggestive pointers that may help to secure your digital identities:

  • Consulting a good IT security service provider and getting a due diligence study to gain a security health check of the existing IT security systems.
  • Selecting a good IAM vendor and service provider who can integrate the IAM solution with existing infrastructure with minimal downtime.
  • Ongoing support and managed services are critical, choosing a service provider who can offer both so your IT teams can concentre with their work is imperative.
  • Looking into future technologies that will have compatibility will aid to the safety concerns.

It’s nothing new that concerns are being raised for the upcoming census 2020, proper IT security measures must be considered before the jump is made, to mitigate risks associated with data leaks and improve security.

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