Demystifying Data Breaches: Understanding the Risks and Costs
6th October, 2023
In today's digital age, data has become one of the most valuable assets. The tech giants that control vast amounts of data are among the world's most powerful companies. Yet, as we'll explore, even these giants are not immune to the ever-growing threat of data breaches.
Data breaches have become a rampant epidemic affecting businesses of all sizes. Cybercriminals, motivated by financial gains and access to personal data, are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods. Astonishingly, many organizations remain ill-prepared to face the consequences of a data breach, despite their growing prevalence.
Understanding Data Breaches
The U.S. Department of Justice defines a data breach as "the loss of control, compromise, unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized acquisition, access for an unauthorized purpose, or other unauthorized access to data, whether physical or electronic." Astonishingly, data breaches come at an average global cost of nearly $4 million, as per a study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute.
Data breaches typically involve various types of sensitive information, including financial data (like credit card details and bank account information), protected health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets, and intellectual property. Common terms for data breaches include data leaks, cloud leaks, information leakage, or data spills.
While the term "data breach" often conjures images of sophisticated cyberattacks, it's essential to recognize that other factors, such as careless disposal of computer equipment, human error, or poorly configured systems, can also lead to data breaches.