Data leakage occurs when confidential or sensitive information leaves your organization without proper authorization. This breach can happen in several ways, such as through email, text messages, or even conversations overheard in public places. Data breaches can cost millions of dollars, so reducing the risks is crucial.
What Is the Average Cost of Data Leakage?
According to a study by IBM, companies paid an average of $4.24 million for data breaches in 2021. Some of these cases also involve ransomware. In these instances, hackers steal and encrypt data or block access to websites and social media accounts. They then hold these critical assets hostage until the company pays the ransom.
To make matters worse, data breaches can cost companies more than just money. Here are some additional costs:
- Damaged reputation or public image, especially if investigations show negligence was a factor
- Loss of customer trust and potential loss of the customers and the revenue they generated
- Diminished employee morale and job satisfaction, which could lead to a retention problem
- Loss of business opportunities, especially when other companies try to distance themselves from public scrutiny
- The potential for increased regulatory scrutiny and fines
What Are Some Best Practices for Handling a Data Leakage?
Ideally, you never experience a data leakage, but the odds may not be in your favor. One study reported that 80% of U.S. companies had suffered successful data breaches. So, what can you do if a hacker manages to get their hands on your data or access to your networks?
The first step is to notify your team and begin an investigation immediately. You need to understand how the data leaked and take steps to prevent it from happening again. You also need to determine if any customer data was compromised and if so, you must take steps to protect the information.
Once you have a handle on the situation, you need to develop a plan for moving forward. The plan should include notifying customers and working with law enforcement, if applicable. You also need to take steps to improve your security protocols to reduce the chances of future breaches.
How Can Organizations Prevent Data Leakage?
Regardless of the odds, 20% of U.S. companies have still not experienced data breaches. Why should your company not fall into this group? There is no sure-fire way to achieve this, but you can take several steps to reduce the risk of a breach. Consider the following options:
- Implement security controls: Firewalls and intrusion detection systems are excellent examples.
- Encrypt data at rest and in transit: This makes it almost impossible for hackers to decipher the information, even if they manage to get their hands on it.
- Use robust authentication methods: Studies have shown that two-factor authentication, for example, significantly reduces the threat posed by hackers.
- Restrict access: Determine who needs access to data and systems and restrict access to only those with a clear need.
- Monitor activity for suspicious behavior: Over time, your IT team and cybersecurity professionals will become better at determining what suspicious activity looks like within your organization.
- Regularly test your security defenses: Some companies turn these into public competitions, while others use internal teams to attempt breaches and fix loopholes.
How Does Message Capturing and Archiving Help With Handling a Data Leakage?
If you’re already using message archiving, you’re ahead of the game regarding data leakage. That’s because message archiving provides you with a complete record of all communication, including email and instant messages. Access to messages can be invaluable when trying to track down the source of a data leak.
Message archiving can also help you prevent data leakage by providing a way to monitor employee communications. You can set up alerts to notify you of suspicious activity and take action to prevent data breaches. Why is this important? Half of the surveyed companies hacked during 18 months, from 2018 to 2019, said the breach originated internally.
Message archiving can also help you recover the data you need for business operations and compliance. These could include emailed contracts and invoices or transcripts of phone records. Having access to these records can allow business operations to continue while the IT team and law enforcement investigate the breach.
Data leakage is a severe problem that can cost companies millions of dollars. Taking simple precautions and using message capturing and archiving can help reduce your company’s exposure to risk. Including messaging archiving as part of your solution could help you better prevent breaches and detect the responsible parties. Contact LeapXpert for more information.