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Notaries Must Focus On Information Security In Post-WikiLeaks World

Following the announcement that online whistle-blower site “WikiLeaks” will release confidential data from a major banking chain, security and regulatory experts predict Notaries employed in finance and banking will see stricter workplace policies for securing and sharing sensitive data, such as journal entries.

Employees of financial institutions must understand the risk of privacy breaches when sensitive documents — paper or electronic — are left unprotected or taken outside the workplace, said Mandar Rege, Chief Security Officer for Lehman Brothers and Senior Director of Information Protection Services with global consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal.

“One of the best defenses against privacy breaches is user education,” Rege said. “Many data breaches involve people trying to do the right thing, but who don’t understand the risks — for example, someone who sends payroll information to their personal eMail account, but doesn’t realize that by doing so, someone else may be able to get their hands on the information.”

Bank privacy and document security policies will also need to address sensitive paper documents such as Notary journals, said Elizabeth Khalil, an attorney with the law firm Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. and advisor to financial institutions on regulatory matters.

The WikiLeaks release “is definitely going to hammer home that banks at all level needs to take security seriously, and definitely applies to paper as well,” she said. “Any document that includes names, Social Security numbers or other information used in identity theft will need to be given additional scrutiny and protection. As a result, I think Notaries may be looking at more stringent document security policies.”

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