5 Common Causes of Data Breach That Businesses Should Watch Out For
No business wants to deal with the blot on its reputation and the huge loss of money that follows a data breach incident. Therefore, to create a robust data security and network security strategy that does its job of protecting the data effectively, it’s important for a business to understand what causes a data breach in the first place. Listed below are some of the most common causes behind data breaches that businesses should watch out for:
Software or Network Vulnerabilities
Any security vulnerabilities in the software applications or network infrastructure that are not patched up as soon as they are discovered are a convenient means of exploitation for the hackers. Sometimes, businesses may use pirated software application to save a few bucks, without realizing that they are painting a target on their backs. While the fact that pirated software are illegal should be a reason enough to avoid these, what makes matters even worse is that pirated software may consist of all kinds of malware like spyware, ransomware, viruses, etc., thus threatening the security of the data.
Businesses should also be vigilant about the software applications they use in their everyday operations, because another type of software vulnerability that could cause a data breach is the defects in the coding of the software. Using a software application that hasn’t been built according to the proper security standards is quite risky, because sooner or later, these seemingly little loopholes could end up becoming the reason for a major data breach.
It’s also a great risk to use software, operating system, and web browser that are not up-to-date. The unpatched security vulnerabilities of these applications are quite often exploited by hackers to launch cybersecurity attack and steal data. Since network acts as a layer of protection encompassing the computer systems of a business, any faults in the network design or deployment could also lead to a data breach.
Businesses need to be quite proactive when it comes to updating the software they use and inspecting their network for any issues. If they can’t find the time or resources to do this on their own, they should trust a managed IT services provider to get these critical tasks done.
Accidental Employee Mistake
Unintentional mistakes by employees are a leading cause of data breach incidents. From falling for a phishing scam and revealing sensitive details, to losing important documents containing confidential information, there is a wide range of inadvertent mistakes that employees can make and invite a data breach to their organization. An employee could send an email containing classified information to a wrong recipient by mistake. They could be using very simple and easy to crack passwords for their accounts on business applications. Or maybe they are not being cautious enough in protecting the privacy of their login credentials. These are just a few examples of what an inadvertent employee mistake behind a data breach might look like. Lack of proper cybersecurity training as well as of stringent security policies can be blamed for these employee mistakes.
Read this to know the best ways to train your employees in cybersecurity.
Malicious Misuse by Employee
Unlike the unintended employee mistakes that we talked about in the earlier point, malicious misuse by an employee indicates something much more serious. It means that someone on the inside is intentionally sharing confidential business information with an outside party in exchange for some sort of personal benefit. The motive for the employee to cause a malicious data breach like this could be money, revenge, or anything else. This is one of those causes of data breach that is extremely difficult for an organization to foresee. There is no way for a business to tell which one of its employees may turn rogue at any point. Despite the unpredictability of such a situation, a business can take some steps to avoid the situation as much as possible. Defining clear user roles and setting suitable permissions for data and system use for each of these roles can help control the access that an employee has over business data. The idea is to ensure that only select, trusted users have access to the most sensitive data of the organization, and to keep the sensitive data out of reach for anyone outside this circle.
A malware attack is one of the most common ways via which a data breach might happen. Now, there are a number of ways in which a successful malware attack might occur. Phishing and malvertisements are among hackers’ favorite ways of spreading malware. What’s dangerous about a malware attack is that it can quickly progress from its origin system of attack, move into the network that the system is connected to, and infect other systems that come in its way. It’s easy to perceive how a malware attack on an organization can spiral out of control and cause a massive data breach as a result. If the type of malware attacking is ransomware, then such an attack could mean even bigger problems for the business. Installing a comprehensive anti-malware software and keeping this software updated is a must for any business. Moreover, since phishing and malvertisements are typically used methods for carrying out a malware attack, educating employees about the same is also essential.
Failure in Security of Physical Device
A data breach could also happen when a device, that contains sensitive data related to the business, is no longer secure; meaning the device is either lost or stolen. The types of devices that come under this nature of data breach threat include mobile devices like tablets, laptops, and smart phones, storage devices like pen drives, hard disks, and optical disks, and desktop computers and servers too. If the data stored on the device is not properly protected, such as through security measures like encryption, then there’s a good chance that the device theft would soon deteriorate to a data breach. It’s not only important to be cautious towards keeping the device secure in the first place, but it’s also important to take extra measures for protecting the data on the device to be prepared for the circumstances when device is not in safe hands. Learn tips on how to keep your mobile devices safe.
Has your business suffered from a data breach? Here’s what you should do next. Steps to take after a data breach.