What Are the Hazards of a Data Breach?

Apr 13, 2021

A data breach is an unpermitted exposure of data. This information can be divulged on accident or purposefully; regardless of intent, however, the breach can be used by bad actors for any manner of wrongdoing. Potentially breachable information comes in all forms, including PII (personally identifiable information), company financials, tax ID numbers, and more.

Data breaches cause damage to individuals and businesses. In a recent workplace survey, 75% of employees reported impacts from data breaches on their personal and professional relationships. These reports came from small and midsize businesses.

Regardless of what industry your business is in, your customers will want to know that your company will stay out of the news—and keep their data safe.

Data Breaches in the News

There have been many notable data breaches in the news recently, involving both government agencies and private entities. These security lapses have cost millions of dollars and put millions of people at risk. The hazards of a data breach are numerous, but they can involve substantial cost to resources and reputations.

It is important to consider that data breaches have consequences far downstream from the initial breach, sometimes for years after the information first gets compromised. An important way to mitigate long-term exposure is to simply use the most recent identity verification systems. In the event that data security is compromised, many consumers turn to identity protection services to help them.

Scams Can Take Many Forms

According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 28,000 security failures were reported in 2019. These incidents can happen in many ways. An identity thief can trick security with phishing scams, for example. Data can also be lost or stolen outright.

Some individuals inadvertently give out sensitive data willingly. Identity thieves can use social media accounts to glean PII and steal identities. Retail businesses expose the PII of their customers.

Employees can collude, wittingly or unwittingly, with identity thieves. Artificial intelligence could one day be a ubiquitous and unpredictable threat worldwide. There is no limit to the creativity that will be invested in data theft schemes now and in the future.

Scams Can Have Hidden Costs

According to a 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute, the average data breach (of public data) costs $2.3 million. The expense has created a “culture of confidentiality” that prevents strategic information-sharing about solutions and this culture has pervaded the private sector, too. This is a hidden cost that is not often considered when IT threats are being discussed.

Data breach litigation is a uniquely unpredictable legal gray area. This makes the cost of legal representation uncertain, not to mention questions concerning legal liabilities. Courts have awarded judgements on behalf of customers whose PII has been breached. This theory of law has been upheld multiple times. Consequential damages have also been awarded.

Contact Us 

SEAM’s professionals can advise you about data breaches. Contact us to learn more about SEAM’s data breach protection services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and surrounding communities.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.