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What is a Data Breach, and How Does It Happen?

Manmohan Vyas- July 20, 2021

Data breaches: the threat is still real

Data breaches are more than just a frightful experience; they have the potential to alter the trajectory of your life. When sensitive information is revealed, it can cause significant problems for businesses, governments, and individuals. Hackers can access you via the internet, Bluetooth, text messages, or the online services you use, whether you are offline or online.

A minor flaw can lead to a big data breach if it is not appropriately addressed. Unfortunately, most people do not pay enough attention to modern security dangers because they are uninformed of their work. We’ll go through data breaches and how they can affect you in this article.

 

What is a Data Breach, and How Does It Happen?

A data breach results when confidential, sensitive, or protected information is exposed to an unauthorized individual. Without permission, files from a data breach are read and disseminated.

A data breach can affect anybody, from individuals to large corporations and governments. But, more significantly, if someone is not protected, they can endanger others.

In general, data breaches occur as a result of flaws in:

  • Technology
  • The actions of users

There are more places for data to sneak through as our computers and mobile gadgets become increasingly connected. New age technology is being developed at a faster rate than we can safeguard them.

 

What causes data breaches?

A data breach is considered to be caused by an outside hacker; however, this isn’t always the case. In some cases, the reasons for data breaches can be traced back to intentional attacks. It can, however, be caused by a simple omission on the part of staff or infrastructure flaws in a corporation. A data breach can happen in the following ways:

  • Devices that have been misplaced or stolen.
  • Criminals from the outside.

 

Targets of Data Breach

When business data is valuable to a third party, it becomes a target. Different data types are more or less applicable to third parties, and they pose varying degrees of danger to a company. The following are examples of different sorts of data:

  1. Personally, Identifiable Information: This includes information such as social security numbers, contact information, birth dates, educational background, and other personal details.
  2. Information about money: This information includes credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank accounts, investment information, and other similar information.
  3. Intellectual Property: It is a term that refers to Product manuals, specifications, scientific formulas, marketing texts and symbols, proprietary software, and other materials generated by the company are all included.
  4. Information on the competition. This contains competitive information, market research, pricing data, and business plans.
  5. Data on IT security. Usernames and passwords, encryption keys, security techniques, and network structure are all part of this.

The consequences of data breaches

A data breach’s ramifications are often severe, and they can have long-term consequences in four main areas:

Financial

Companies frequently suffer significant financial losses as a result of regulatory fines and settlement payments. They often notice a decrease in their value as well. They may also lose future revenue if intellectual property is violated, as this frequently results in a loss of market share.

Legal

Companies face class action lawsuits if a data breach involves any personal information. In addition, authorities have the power to prohibit corporations from doing particular operations in some instances.

Reputational

It’s impossible to gauge the extent of a breach’s damage to a company’s reputation, but the consequences are frequently long-lasting. Individual executives may also be sacked or made to quit to lessen the impact.

Operational

 Everyday activities are frequently disrupted by data breaches, particularly during the investigation phase. Furthermore, some data breaches result in the total loss of critical information, which is incredibly unpleasant because data replication takes time.

 

What can be done to avoid data breaches?

Everyone at all levels, from end-users to IT employees, and everyone in between, must be involved in data breach prevention.

When it comes to preventing data breach assaults or leaks, security is only as good as the weakest link. Every person who interacts with a system has the potential to be a security flaw. Even children using a tablet connected to your home network pose a security danger.

There is no single security technology or control that will eliminate data breaches. Common security policies are the most reasonable means of preventing data leaks. These include well-known security fundamentals like:

  • carrying out regular vulnerability evaluations
  • Testing for intrusion
  • Firewall protection 
  • IP protection
  • Managing access rules
  • Proper file permissions
  • Proper role permissions
  • Implementing malware protection
  •  Consistently deploying software patches to all systems regularly

While these measures will help prevent intrusions into an environment, experts recommend encrypting sensitive data, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Encryption will prevent threat actors from accessing the actual data in the event of a successful breach into the environment.

Well-written security rules for employees and continuing security awareness training to promote those policies and educate staff are different strategies for preventing breaches and minimizing their impact.

 

Conclusion

These basic precautions can be a wonderful place to start when lowering the danger of a data breach. Each one, however, necessitates a comprehensive examination and adaptation to the peculiarities of your company’s operations. Here are a few items that can assist you with this:

  • It’s not a good idea to go it alone. Instead, look for solutions that can help you and your team automate as many chores as possible to focus on more strategic operations.
  • Look for new cybersecurity breakthroughs and implement those that appear to be the most appropriate for your firm.
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