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4 Common Causes of Business Data Breaches



Data breaches are a huge cybersecurity risk for all businesses in the digitally evolved world we live in. In fact, 60% of small businesses who fall victim to a data breach, unfortunately, close down within six months of the attack. We’re not here to use scare tactics, but the reality is - data breaches are a real issue. Being cyber aware should be a top priority for all businesses, from large corporations to small to medium enterprises.

With this in mind, these are four of the most common causes of data breaches and some tips to reduce the risks.


1. Human error


Data breaches don’t always occur by someone acting with malicious intent, most often they are a result of human error. A Verizon report found that 1 in 5 data breach incidents was the result of an employee mistake. This can happen by accident or as a result of carelessness, such as an email sent to the wrong person, attaching the wrong document, or handing over sensitive information unknowingly.


To avoid this, we highly recommend professional IT and cybersecurity training for all employees, as well as creating policies and a workplace culture around communication of suspicious behaviour or an accidental breach.


2. Malware


Malware is malicious software loaded without intention that opens up access to your system and connected systems to the hacker. Businesses can fall victim to malware in many ways, both indirect and direct, such as a link in a phishing email. An employee may click a link and not realise that malware has been installed and is working in the background, and other times it can shut down your device completely. Key-logging is a prevalent malware risk in which it captures the keystrokes used on a keyboard. This is often used to steal passwords and other sensitive information putting your business at risk.


Avoid malware attacks by installing and running reputable antivirus, firewall and web-filtering software on all company and BYOD devices, and educating your team on the risks.


3. Physical attacks


On-site security risks are just as real as cyber threats when it comes to data breaches. A significant number of data breaches have been found not to involve technology at all. Physical breaches can involve the theft of paperwork, laptops, phones and more. Be suspicious of non-employees who come into your workplace, whether it be an unexpected salesperson or an unauthorised tradesperson.


Reduce the risk by creating workplace policies for employees never to write down passwords or sensitive data, and instead only utilise reputable password management tools for this information. As well as this, ensure company information is not kept on BYOD devices and can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen to reduce the risk of a data breach.


4. Too many permissions


Limiting employee permissions is crucial to reduce the risks of a data breach, but keep it simple and stay on top of who has access. When these things fall off the radar for businesses, permissions can become outdated (e.g. ex-employees with permission) or the wrong people with access. These weaknesses can easily be exploited by a cyber attack.


Working with Incito means you have a team of proactive IT professionals backing your business at all times. For simple, cost-effective business IT solutions all managed in one place, get in touch with the Incito team, here.

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