NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Corporations and government agencies alike need to change their mindsets if they want to keep their data safe from hackers, said Charles Morgan, author of Matters of Life and Data and former CEO of Acxiom  (ACXM).

"We always spent a lot of time on the whole concept that privacy and security is a state of mind," said Morgan. "It is how you act every day, not rules you follow. It is your attitude toward protecting this important asset which is customer data."

Morgan served as CEO of information services provider Acxiom from 1972 to 2008, helping it grow from an early-stage company to an international marketing technology and services company generating $1.4 billion in annual revenue. Morgan also served as the board chairman for the Direct Marketing Association in 2001.

Morgan currently serves on the board of INUVO (INUV), which focuses on performance-based advertising. He is also the CEO of First Orion Corp., a private company behind the PrivacyStar application that helps mobile phone users protect their privacy.

To emphasize the importance of privacy, Morgan said he took the step of appointing Jennifer Barrett Acxiom's first Chief Privacy Officer in 1991, a position she still holds today at the company.

"Initially, I thought she was going to have a two day a week job and still have her regular job, but pretty soon she had a staff and today there are about four or five people at Acxiom in that role," said Morgan.

As for the recent data breaches in the Federal government's computer system, Morgan said the hackers are far ahead of those trying stop them from breaking in and stealing precious data. Morgan criticized the Office of Personnel Management, which revealed earlier this month that 21.5 million people had their information hacked from government servers, for only having a single identification factor in its security system.

"Once you've gotten inside the government or the Office of Personnel Management, if you get through one factor you can get anything, and they did," said Morgan.

 

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