What are the Most Common Causes of Data Breaches?

These days, many small business owners across the country are likely aware of the significant threat they face from data breaches, which can not only expose all their critical data, but also end up costing them significant sums of money to clear up. However, they might not be aware of the most common causes of these incidents, or what they can do to help avoid such issues.

Over the past decade, there have been some 100,000 data breaches, and approximately 92,000 of them fell within more or less the same patterns, according to the latest Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon. In many cases, and across all industries examined, the ways in which these breaches occur is often very similar, meaning that owners can narrow their focus to ensure they’re doing all they can to stop the most common causes.

“After analyzing 10 years of data, we realize most organizations cannot keep up with cybercrime – and the bad guys are winning,” said Wade Baker, principal author of the Data Breach Investigations Report series. “But by applying big data analytics to security risk management, we can begin to bend the curve and combat cybercrime more effectively and strategically. Organizations need to realize no one is immune from a data breach. Compounding this issue is the fact that it is taking longer to identify compromises within an organization – often weeks or months, while penetrating an organization can take minutes or hours.”

What are they?
Usually, data breaches are not caused by insidious attacks, but rather simple
accidents, like employees transferring data in a dangerous way (i.e. email), the report said. But at the same time, malware still plays a major role in causing these incidents, as does intentional misuse of information by employees. Physical theft, Web attacks, denial of service, cyber espionage, point-of-sale hacking intrusions, and skimming, also appear most regularly on the list of common data breach causes.

Owners should be conscious of not only these potential ways in which they could find themselves compromised, but also what would happen if such incidents were to occur anyway; after all, many of them take place despite the best efforts of owners. As such, it’s often wise for entrepreneurs to invest in small business insurance policies known as tech insurance, as these can help to mitigate the typically massive cost of dealing with data breach fallout.