Data Breach – An Overlooked Issue in Organizations

In the cyber age, new technological events and changes occur on daily base. However, in this modern age, cyber criminals work silently behind this technology and take advantage of our security ignorance or lack of knowledge. Today, I am going to reveal about data breach, causes, and its prevention measures. So, let us reveal one by one and start with Data Breach definition.

What is Data Breach?

A Data breach is an illegal activity conducts by cyber culprits to view, steal, or use confidential and sensitive information.

Generally, we have started to depend on devices like desktop, laptop, cloud computing, server, and smart phones to store confidential data. But, we forget to carry required security measures about the data assets, and we welcome data breach innocently.

Many government authorities have started to take steps against data breach by adopting guidelines and compliance. Data breach occurs in different organizations and corporate sector to steal bank account numbers, social security numbers, personal name, and other sensitive details. In this article, we will cover some useful guidelines produced by Australian government that focus on data breach occurrence, its prevention, data breach response, information security and importance of data breach notification. So let us look over them systematically.

How does Data Breach Occur?

Data breach occurs in several ways, and it could happen intentionally or innocently by employees, organizations, there are few causes, which are shown in below examples.

  • Stolen laptops, removable storage devices, which contain private information.
  • Disposal of Digital storage media and other hard disks without erasing content.
  • Hacked Database that contained personal information.
  • Illegal access by individuals outside of the organization.
  • When employees expose personal information by ignoring employment policy.
  • Unencrypted data transition, which can intercept by cyber criminals.
  • Employees provide confidential information by mistake.

Tips to prevent Data breach:

We have seen from the above points that there should be a strict data policy in organizations. Besides data policy, there are some tips that help organizations in preventing data breach.

Enforce security inspection:

It is necessary to decide the kind of data and the authority people before making a security audit. Make a detailed list of computers, laptops, mobile device, and networks to decide the data storage location. Find out the source of the information flow within organizations like mail, website, social media etc. Keep only information that is essential to carry out business effectively. Keep an evidence of records retention policy, which includes data security policy, data disposal methods, and types of information.

Security Policy Implementation:

Strict and coordinated security policy helps an organization in data management, and makes employees clear about data sharing, and its usage. Limit to data access should be considered and for that limited permission should be given to access confidential data. Keep data records in a safe and locked location and limit access to it. Make sure that employees take care of their records means log off PC, lock file cabinets while leaving the office. Encrypt server data, so outsiders could not access it. Take data backup on regular intervals.

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Educate employees:

Educate employees about implemented data policy by conducting a training session. Guide them about data handling and data breach prevention. Make password policy used in workplace and make sure that employees should not share password with each other or any outsider. Make a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy and aware organization’s employees about it. Educate employees about use of social media sites and risk of sharing information to unknown individuals.

Conduct Risk Assessment:

Organizations should have consciousness about security control and information security. Such security control can be implemented on the base of proper risk assessment and vulnerability assessment. With risk assessment, organizations can expose weakness in IT infrastructure. Give priority to existing vulnerabilities on the base of affected data assets, and take proper security measures to mitigate them. By doing so, organization will have secure environment, and the organization will be free from threat or susceptibility.

Regular Update Software:

Cyber culprits take advantage of unpatched systems easily. Therefore, it is necessary to update software in the organization when it requires update to avert further breaches. Moreover, tell employees to update software on their personal device. With updated security patches, application and software will have more protection against prevailing vulnerability. Many applications like Adobe PDF Reader, Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Office must be updated timely whenever the update is available.

Develop Data Breach Response Plan:

Data breach response plan offers a quick response in case of sudden data breach. Such plan mitigates the risk of further breach. The plan includes details of a contact person to be informed, roll and responsibility of staff, document procedure etc. That will help an organization to conduct external and internal security investigation.


Finally, from the above points, we can come to the conclusion that data security is a prime focus for any organization, and even it addresses to the internal coordination of organization’s employees. For that, data policy should be crafted to bring awareness across organizations. In the past, the cyber world has witnessed large data breaches. We can ascertain that Data breaches are not limited to malicious action, but also cover internal failure like lacking of information security policy. If you have some useful idea or technique for data breach prevention, then you are welcome at this post to share your valuable thoughts.


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