Companies that keep or use personal data are required by regulations to provide adequate security for this information to protect the individuals it belongs to. When private data is leaked, it can also have significant consequences for the companies charged with its safety. If a firm failed to take appropriate measures to protect the data or it was lacking in its reporting of the incident to both data regulators and those impacted, it can face hefty fines.

This is not the end of the ensuing costs for companies, however – forensic data investigations can be expensive, as can system downtime while backed up information is restored so normal operations can resume. Long-term losses of a data breach can be even more devastating, with a serious blow dealt to the credibility and professional reputation of a business.

In the following sections, we’ll outline some of the potential causes of data leaks that enterprises should be aware of.

User error

The human element of any chain is well documented as the weakest link, and this is no different when it comes to data security. Whether it’s an email sent with sensitive contents to the wrong recipient or a file accidentally deleted without a backup, user errors are a common reason at the root of data breaches.

Internal theft

Large scale industrial espionage operations with planted employees and entrepreneurial insider traders are both examples of data leaks occurring from within the safety of a company’s secure network perimeter.

Incorrect disposal

When personal data is no longer being used, legislation like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that it must be destroyed. In some cases, information is forgotten and left in vulnerable network locations or disposed of improperly, leading to embarrassing data breaches.

Cybercriminal activity

By far the largest cause of data leaks across the world is cybercriminals. Threat operators will use spoofed emails and sites combined with phishing email campaigns to extract personal information from enterprise personnel. Other hackers will deploy malicious software that can infect a firm’s devices, allowing them to take control of operating systems and access private files.

Ransomware is a form of crypto malware that can not only lock data files down, but steal them simultaneously. The information is then held for ransom, with demands made in cryptocurrency in return for the personal data not being exposed publicly. Among the most damaging attacks, ransomware assault can cripple companies with the costs of reparations and resolution when Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is exposed.

To safeguard confidential data that is handled or retained on file, enterprises can rely on expert assistance from Galaxkey. We have built a secure platform designed to provide comprehensive protection that has powerful yet simple to adopt tools. Our system employs a three-layer encryption method based on the onion model, and it is of a standard recognised at government level. This renders data stored and sent indecipherable to cybercriminals if they attempt to access it. Reach out to a member of our professional team today to arrange a demonstration of our security solution online and see it in action.