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A Talk With Tata Consultancy Services' Brian Cummings

The head of TCS North America's information risk practice on emerging threats to our data

What's putting our data at risk now?

We're seeing a new weakness unfold with cloud computing. The misconception is that if I transfer to a cloud service, they become responsible for my security. The burden is on the customer to make sure the cloud service meets their requirements.

Many companies are getting more aggressive on data security. Is it paying off?

There's a recent report from Deloitte that shows the number of intrusion attempts is on the rise, but successful intrusions have gone down. That speaks well to the controls organizations are putting in place. The attacks are not only increasing, but they're increasing in sophistication.

Where are companies falling short?

The trick now is to turn that greater effort inward and take control of the insider threat. Insiders have greater knowledge, they have access. The trend over the last year is to focus on behavior analytics or insider surveillance, or whatever you want to call it. A credit-card company was recently having trouble with celebrity account data. Their employees were selling it to paparazzi, but their system couldn't pinpoint who was doing what.

What's the scariest digital aspect of your own life?

Mobile transactions. I only leave my credit-card information on what I think are the best-protected sites. And when I do, I use one with a very low credit limit— say, $1,000— to protect myself and my bank.

Maggs edits news and opinion articles at Bloomberg Businessweek. Prior to joining the magazine in 2000, he was Managing Editor of HK Magazine, Associate Editor of Asia Inc., and Editor of Canadian Building Magazine. He is a graduate of the journalism program at Ryerson University in Toronto.

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