A data breach is a confirmed attack on protected data – often personal or financial information – by an undisclosed or unauthorized third-party. The most notorious examples frequently appear in media coverage, when a major retailer, bank, or hospital is forced to disclose that millions of their customers’ data have been compromised.
Who Benefits From Stealing Data?
A breach is like a digital bank robbery, but instead of money, criminals steal information that is valuable to either individuals or corporations (or both). Credit card information, health records, social security numbers, and accounting data are prime examples of data that can be sold on the black market via the dark web. Selling this information can be highly lucrative and is often difficult for authorities to trace. For this reason, it is always best that enterprises have a plan in place for protecting data and handling possible attacks in the future.
Financial costs associated with these types of attacks are typically millions of dollars. The total cost depends on several factors, including the amount of data exposed, the value of the data lost, and the expenses associated with creating new security measures. Three principal values will determine the cost of a breach:
- Intellectual Property. Trade secrets, patents, investment strategies, and designs, can be very damaging if exposed to competitors. It is crucial not only to store this data correctly but to give it a proper valuation to make an accurate insurance claim if necessary.
- Financial Information. The loss of financial data exposes companies and their customers to continued attacks in the future. Once financial information is stolen, it triggers a process of closing and reopening accounts that can be very costly to both individuals and corporations. If the breach is not immediately recognized, criminals can potentially use company funds to execute transactions for themselves or their criminal organization.
- Brand. Consumers depend on enterprises to store important data securely. When a breach occurs, it is better for customers to hear from you directly, rather than on the news. When vital data is stolen, the reputation of the company that stored it takes a hit, which in turn will require a substantial investment in new infrastructure and marketing to bring consumers back to the brand.
Once response teams have determined the extent of the breach, it will cost additional time and money to find a combination of hardware and software solutions that will prevent data loss in the future. To avoid the possibility of recurring attacks, it is essential that enterprises choose data providers that can regularly update their security features and hardware.