In 2019, there were 1,473 data breaches in the United States alone – a 17% increase from the previous year. Though breaches can vary in scale and severity, they have serious consequences for everyone affected. There are four major consequences that result from a data breach, and when considering how often breaches occur, the severe risks warrant better security measures to protect sensitive data from hackers and thieves.
Data breaches impact millions of individuals each year. Stolen data is sometimes sold on the dark web at a substantial price. In other cases, attackers use the data for identity theft and insurance fraud. In healthcare data breaches, attackers might use victims’ sensitive health information to coerce payment from them. For people whose data is compromised in a breach, it can take years to recover. In any case, the adversity individuals experience outweighs any costs or inconveniences of implementing proper security measures to prevent breaches.
Companies that experience a data breach often lose reputation in the market and in the media. If a healthcare data breach affects 500 or more individuals, the company is required to report it to the media as well as to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The list of these breaches on the HHS website shows the company, how many records were breached, how the breach happened, and what type of data was involved. There is not a uniform law for reporting data breaches in other sectors, but state laws in the U.S. generally require businesses to report breaches to individuals whose data has been compromised.
Especially for a breach affecting hundreds of thousands of people, news of it can surface quickly. Depending on the severity of the breach and how it is handled, media coverage of the event can have lasting effects on a company’s brand and reputation.
The global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, and the average in the U.S. is $8.19 million. This amount is a blend of legal expenses, settlements, and fines that result from data privacy violations and the ensuing litigation. On top of these costs, businesses also have to assess why and how their current security measures failed, and what new measures and policies must be implemented to both repair the breach itself and mitigate future risks.
Lower productivity due to handling the data breach, hiring new personnel and third parties to assess and implement security practices, and losing customers and shareholders are also significant costs that data breaches create. Any one of these economic burdens is harmful on its own. Combined, the costs of a data breach can financially cripple and even bankrupt a company.
These consequences do not disappear overnight. Individual, reputational, and economic losses have a long-term impact on the companies and the people that suffer from data breaches. It can take years for individuals and businesses to fully recover from a breach, and even then there can be lasting impacts. Preventing a data breach is always better than recovering from one.
Data breach prevention has always been a need, but in an age of widespread digital transformation and remote work, it should be top priority for businesses who want to protect their customers and employees and keep a competitive edge. Establishing preemptive security measures is vital to preventing catastrophe. These measures should be a combination of hardware and device security, privacy compliance, app and software security, and internet security. Some businesses may need to revamp their security policies to account for digitization and new cybersecurity threats, and others may need to be more meticulous in enforcing those policies.
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DriveStrike provides a device & data security solution to help companies prevent data breaches and keep their customer and employee information secure. With DriveStrike, you can remotely manage all of your company’s devices. Among other features, DriveStrike enables you to lock users out, track device locations, and wipe data from devices and hard drives. These functions are a critical part of any cybersecurity strategy. DriveStrike is an essential security measure to ensure your data is safe. Prevent data breaches, comply with privacy laws, and remotely manage devices, all from one simple and secure command center. DriveStrike offers affordable pricing for everyone from households to enterprises, and our solution is compatible with all major platforms. Sign up for a free trial to start protecting your devices today!
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