Most organizations are almost running out of options on how to secure their data due to the increased rate of data leaking from organizations into the wrong hands. This can even lead to cases of mistrust in the organizations since in most cases; it is an insider person who leaks the data intentionally or for any reasons.
What is a data breach?
A data breach can be defined as a security incident where sensitive, confidential and most of the time valuable information is copied, leaked or even viewed by an unauthorized individual from in or outside the organizations. These breaches may involve monetary information such as credit card, bank details, and personal information such as health records, identification information, property, trade secrets, and even private locations. Data breaches have become very rampant with numbers escalating as most organizations computerize their systems. In a survey conducted by a nonprofit consumer organization privacy rights clearinghouse, it was indicated that between January 2005 and may 2008 a total of 227,052,199 individual records containing personal information in which were sensitive were involved in security breaches in the united states between excluding data which was apparently not so sensitive at that moment. To make matters worse, the numbers have been increasing over the years as the vice keeps spreading all over the world.
What Can Cause a Data Breach?
There is an endless list of possible causes of data breaching since it primarily varies from organization to organization but according to Verizon’s report, here are a few of the leading causes of data breaching in many organizations
1. Denial of service
This only is purely out of revenge where the attackers believe they have been denied their right or some sort of service and therefore resort to attacking back. It is however only a small percentage almost negligible as statistics show.
2. Data card skimmers
There are cheap thieves who want to make an extra buck by skimming payments cards. While detection techniques are improving, the attackers are also becoming innovative and embracing the newer technology to continue.
3. Physical theft
Physical theft is usually opportunistic and it is a scenario where a thief lands on valuable documents by physically taking them from an office or personal property such as cars. It has been found that physical theft tends to affect the health and public sector more than other sectors.
4. Miscellaneous errors
Most of these are caused internally and it includes things such as sending sensitive information to the incorrect recipient, publishing non-public data to public forums or even insecure disposal of data. However small it may look, these errors can have serious implications on the organization.
5. Web app attacks
These attacks are usually for financial gains and a good number of them usually opportunistic. They are usually designed to access some primary data from web applications, which are valuable and can be traded.
6. Insider misuse
Insider threats are usually the main cause of data breaches and it comes in the form of employees who misuse their system privileges and level in the organization to their own personal gains such as financial gains and favors. Others, however, are usually unintentional and are brought up by pure ignorance of these privileged users.
7. Cyber espionage
This is the use of computers to remotely access secret data held by an organization. Black hackers who have such an unquenchable thirst for data usually perform it.
These are software specially designed to retrieve data or facilitate the illicit online activity. Once planted in an organization’s system, it can retrieve very sensitive data hence creating a data breach.
9. Point of sale (POS) intrusions
This is data breach attack targeted at POS systems used to manage transactions. In fact, it is ranked as one of the leading cause of data breaches around the globe as it accounts for 28.5% of the confirmed breaches, according to Verizon research.
Managing Causes of a Data Breach
Having known the major causes of the breaches being just a fraction of the huge number of causes, here are some ways in which an organization can manage a data breaching menace in the most effective way possible
1. Look beyond an organization’s IT security when assessing risk
Most organizations when assessing the risk of data breaching usually look at assessing around the scope of its IT security departments capability. Well, criminals are becoming innovative day by day and this requires that a company assesses data breaches by covering all possible scopes including the simplest and neglected ones to the most complex ones.
2. Invent a data recovery system in case of a breach
A good number of organizations in the past have become paralyzed after a data breach, which leads to its loss of data. By establishing a data recovery system, an organization can recover its data after a breach and enhance security by installing SSL certificates on servers that protect you from data breaches in the future. After all, it is always wise to create a soft-landing spot in case you fall!
3. Educate employees on how to handle sensitive data
Ignorant employees who breach data without their knowledge or just not being too careful with confidential data cause a good percentage of breaches. By educating them, they are will handle these kinds of data with utmost caution thus reducing employee-related data breaching cases.
4. Conduct companywide risk assessment periodically
Most breaches occur due to the negligence of an organization to implement continuous security procedures hence affording loopholes for these criminals. By conducting frequent risk assessment tests one can be able to identify possible data breaching loopholes and correct them before an attacker can.
5. Train and support mobile workers
Most mobile workers work outside the company buildings thus they have a higher chance of being an unintentional or intentional cause of data breaches to an organization. The best to avoid such a catastrophe is to train and support them in a bid to seal any unprecedented loopholes.
6. Hire a third-party security specialist and analyst
Organizations tend to neglect these to reduce their expenditure without knowing that this could be costlier for them in the end. Organizations need to hire security analysts mostly from a good security firm who would assess risks, clearly point out what is at stake in case of a breach and provide the palatable solutions.
7. Do not over-rely on encryptions as the only form of defense
Most people think that they are super protected by having encryptions on their systems. Organizations and firms are advised to hire more expertise and invest more in their data security rather than rely on mere encryptions.
8. Update systems with security software and patches
An unpatched system is a weak point and a sitting duck waiting to be exploited by hackers. Although patching up a system takes time, it is worth the time and efforts and you will not be disappointed.
9. Maintain the same high-security standards with partners and contractors
It is not enough to be wary of just direct employees since attacks can come from any side. This is to say that contractors and anybody associated with the company need to maintain the high-security standards and measures.
Conclusion It is always important to keep in mind that what work may today may not tomorrow. In other words, managing data breaches is a continuous process that any organization must learn to inculcate into their culture. On the very least, by following the steps, you are assured to curb most of the data breaching possible threats today.