By definition, data breach refers to any incident during which private, confidential, or sensitive information is accessed without permission.
Some of the most common causes of data breaches include phishing, malware, insecure configuration, poor passwords, and excessive privileges.
Although the number of data breaches has increased in recent years due to many factors, including the emergence of cloud computing (and organizations not knowing how to secure their data in the cloud) and expanding digital storage, they have existed as long as companies have maintained confidential data or information.
Data breaches can be a potential disaster for a business.
Data breaches are costly, time-consuming, and can lead a business towards insolvency.
Potential Effects of Data Breaches on Businesses
- Money – Probably the most obvious business impact of a breach is related to money. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM and Ponemon Institute, the average cost associated with a data breach is $3.92 million. Due to a data breach, expenses can potentially include investigation costs, fines and penalties, insurance costs, lawsuits, revenue loss, and recovery costs.
- Reputation – While harder to quantifiably measure, negative press concerning data breaches can lead to losing existing clients and cause difficulty in securing new business. Rebuilding your customer’s and stakeholders’ trust will take considerable time, time that can potentially close down a business.
- Intangibles – Like your reputation, there are other consequences of a data breach that are immeasurable. However, they’re still incredibly impactful. Losing trade secrets, sensitive employee information, and intellectual property can be detrimental to your business. Moreover, a breach can cause downtime and pull your business’s efficiency level to a screeching halt.
Thus, it is imperative to take the right steps and safeguard your business from potential data breaches.
Check out this infographic by Cypress Data Defense for more information about the real costs a data breach could have on your business.
Aaron Cure is the Principal Security Consultant at Cypress Data Defense and an instructor and contributing author for the Dev544 Secure Coding in .NET course.
After 10 years in the U.S. Army, I decided to switch my focus to developing security tools and performing secure code reviews, penetration testing, static source code analysis, and security research.