Good data security means having "defensive depth" embedded in information systems, says Alain Sheer, an attorney in the Federal Trade Commission's division of privacy and identity protection. "Relying on one defense is problematic."

Speaking at the Safeguarding Health Information Conference in Washington, Sheer gave examples of the need for multiple levels of defense. An organization, for instance, may encrypt data but have weak user authentication controls. This enables a hacker to access the encryption module and find the decryption key.

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