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Threats to sensitive data lurk in every corner of your organization, from hard-to-detect malware to busy employees and human error. You can bet with 100% certainty that your organization has had, is having, or will have a data privacy incident—numerous incidents in fact. To reduce risk and ensure organizational compliance, each incident must be risk assessed against the latest breach notification laws to determine if you need to escalate to consumer notification.

Incident Detection and Escalation


Of course, you can’t assess the incidents you don’t know about, so the first challenge in incident management is detection. The difficulty in identifying incidents can cause a significant delay from the time of occurrence to discovery— an average of 277 days to discover and contain, according to the 2022 IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report. 

For efficiency in incident intake, automated privacy incident management solutions like RadarFirst can streamline identification and triage for your privacy team. Anonymized incident metadata available for analysis within the RadarFirst platform reflects a significantly shorter time frame between 25-58 days from occurrence to first risk assessment.

There are many reasons for such delays. Employees trained six or nine months ago on the importance of timely incident reporting forget and delay or miss reporting an incident. Or perhaps employees are not too familiar with what constitutes an “incident” to begin with. 

Say a human resources manager accidentally puts documents containing an employee’s social security number and other sensitive information in another employee’s folder. The second employee notices the error and returns the folder to the HR manager, who may not realize until a privacy training three weeks later that an incident occurred. 

These events are far more common than you might think. In fact, the 2022 Privacy Incident Benchmark report found that unintentional human error remains the largest cause of privacy incidents


Another issue is incident escalation, time is a risk multiplier and every second counts once the clock starts ticking. 

Shorter incident reporting and escalation timelines provided by RadarFirst reflect the gold standard for incident management. Process automation speeds the time it takes organizations to document, risk assess, and rank the level of severity and data sensitivity in privacy incidents. Thus, the data tends to represent a significantly shorter incident lifecycle than for privacy teams using manual processes and spreadsheets for incident response.

If your privacy team uses manual processes for incident escalation, delays will occur when an incident spans multiple jurisdictions. Since each jurisdiction has its own unique breach notification laws, it will take your privacy team longer to perform a full risk assessment for each one. 

If an incident exposing personal health information (PHI) affected 500 people who lived in five different states, the privacy team would have to perform a risk assessment against all five state breach notification laws as well as HIPAA/HITECH. Without efficient, consistent and scalable processes in place, risk assessing incidents across multiple jurisdictions could easily prolong the time from discovery to notification decisioning.

Efficiency in Incident Response Management

When it comes to managing an incident, efficiency and timeliness are key for compliance. Measuring the length of time it takes your organization to discover, document, risk assess, and provide notice on a data breach will help you better identify areas that could use improvement. Monitoring and tracking this information over time will build up benchmarks against which you can measure the effectiveness of your incident response program.

Improvement is critical, because privacy laws are increasing globally and regulators are only increasing scrutiny of organizations who prove to be slow to investigate, slow to notify and have experienced repeat data incidents.

To manage regulatory risk and maintain an effective incident response lifecycle, be sure your organization:

  • Streamlines incident intake and escalation
  • Performs consistent multi-factor incident risk assessments
  • Executes timely notification
  • Leverages tools to produce real-time trend analysis & actionable privacy insights
  • Stays current with changing global breach regulations

As your organization’s data grows in volume and complexity, the need for timely, efficient incident detection and escalation will only increase. Regulator scrutiny and customer awareness of data privacy rights have also increased exponentially.

Organizations who prioritize privacy and value the trust from customers and regulators alike are leveraging intelligent process automation to streamline and operationalize incident management – helping reduce the time to incident detection, escalation, and resolution. 

Discover the ROI of Operational Efficiency