Data breaches can cause severe financial loss and impact an organization’s ability to operate and achieve goals. From regulatory fines to lost business and remediation costs, data breaches have far-reaching, devastating consequences. 

What are the results of a data breach?

A data breach can result in a breach of individual customers’ or employees’ data, such as personal health information, personally identifiable information (PII), social security numbers, and payment card information. It can also include intellectual property or corporate information such as supplier and customer data, trade secrets, details about mergers and acquisitions, or confidential data about lawsuits and other litigation. 

What’s more interesting is that not all data breaches are intentional. Users can accidentally send sensitive information to unprotected parties or upload it to the wrong websites. According to a report, 17% of data breaches occur due to mistakes like these. 

However, most breaches are financially motivated and deliberate. While malicious actors use different methods to gain access to sensitive data, 28% of breaches involve insiders, says the report. 

Different data breaches occur from different sources. Here are some of the most common causes of data breaches:

Cyberattacks – Malware, social engineering, phishing, password cracking, and related techniques are some of the most common cyberattacks hackers use to gain access to sensitive data. 

Theft or loss of devices – Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, and other storage devices can be stolen, lost, or compromised. If they contain sensitive data, they might be targeted. 

Human error – People can be negligent and mistakes happen. Employees can accidentally share confidential information or proprietary data to unauthorized networks or users or misconfigure servers where it is stored. 

The consequences of a data breach can be detrimental to your organization.

Damage control is a crucial aspect of mitigating the effects of a data breach. For instance, if a company experiences a data breach and their reputation is tarnished, their customer relationships will be weakened and their marketing efforts might not return the positive results they had before the breach.

Here is a list of the long-term effects of a data breach on organizations. This will help you understand the importance of strong cybersecurity measures and how a data breach could severely impact your business.  

Image Courtesy: Cypress Data Defense

Author Bio – Aaron Cure

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. 

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