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If you’ve been to the doctor lately (at least in the U.S.), you’re probably already familiar with the impact that new privacy and security regulations have had. Due to HIPAA requirements, doctor’s offices are required to make each patient read information regarding the privacy and security of their medical information and sign a form acknowledging that they’ve received the information.



Almost everywhere we look, there are signs of the new focus on security. There are physical changes, such as parking attendants searching your trunk when you’re pulling into a parking garage. There are procedural changes such as the HIPAA forms that doctor’s offices require you to sign. There are consumer-oriented changes, such as AOL’s recent announcement of its agreement with RSA Security to provide hardware tokens/authenticators for its customers enabling more secure logins and reducing the risk of account takeover and fraudulent use of accounts. New government and corporate regulations are pushing organizations to revisit their electronic and physical security procedures and protect corporate, customer, and partner data like never before—including your custom corporate applications.

Like it or not, application integrity is no longer an option for most companies. Legal and regulatory requirements as well as increases in corporate requirements to ensure privacy and integrity of customer or partner data is making the security of custom applications a more important component of an organization’s overall security strategy. Securing your applications is a critical component of securing your data.

Think about the sensitivity of the data that organizations put in their custom applications. They have sales figures, HR data, customer lists – all kinds of highly confidential data. Most organizations run custom web applications that have everything from personal financial data, to phone records, to credit card transactions associated with them. Imagine if you were a business and hackers could alter your price list! It’s a scary thought, and one that’s not too far fetched. About a year ago, an airline honored unbelievably cheap tickets when a data entry error inadvertently lowered the price. Imagine if hackers could maliciously do it. Of if they could gain access to your medical records by exploiting memory problems with the hospital’s Web-based patient information application.

But, unlike the HIPAA scenario at your doctor’s office, I doubt that any of you have been required to sign a security release form by your IT department—have you? I imagine if you had, it would look something like this:

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