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Volume 32, Issue 2

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 15:37

Lessons from BlackRock’s Data Leak

In January, BlackRock accidentally leaked confidential sales data by posting spreadsheets unsecurely online – certainly not the first time we’ve seen sensitive information “escape” an organization. Incisive CEO Diane Robinette provides guidance companies can follow to minimize spreadsheet risk.

Several weeks ago, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, accidentally posted a link to spreadsheets containing confidential information about thousands of the firm’s financial advisor clients. As reported by Bloomberg News, the link was inadvertently posted on the company’s web pages dedicated to BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded funds. Included in these spreadsheets was a categorized list of advisors broken into groups identified as “dabblers” and “power users.”

While BlackRock was lucky in the fact that there was no financial information included on these spreadsheets, they are still left to deal with reputational damage. For the rest of us, this breach brings an important issue — spreadsheet risk management — back into the spotlight.

Despite years of rumors predicting the demise of spreadsheets, they are still widely used by businesses of every size. And why shouldn’t they be? Beyond providing an easy way to categorize clients and business partners, spreadsheets continue to meet the analytical needs of finance and business executives. They are especially useful for analyzing and providing evidentiary support for decision-making and for complex calculations where data is continuously changing. Yet, as we’ve seen time and time again, spreadsheets represent continued exposure to risk.

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https://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/lessons-from-blackrocks-data-leak/