What is a Data Leakage

April 27th · 3 min read

Data leakage is the unauthorized or accidental release of information from a company to an outside source. Data leakage can occur through a variety of channels, including email, social media, cloud storage, and removable media. Data leakage can have severe consequences for a company, including loss of customer trust, regulatory penalties, and damage to its reputation. In some cases, data leakage can even lead to legal action.

Why Should You Care

Data leakage is a serious problem that can have far-reaching consequences for your company. Here are some of the reasons why you should be concerned about data leakage and take steps to prevent it:

  • Data leakage can lead to a loss of customer trust.
  • Data leakage can result in regulatory penalties.
  • Data leakage can damage your company's reputation.
  • In some cases, data leakage can even lead to legal action.

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How Does Information Leakage Affect a Typical Small Business?

Information leakage is a severe issue for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In fact, SMBs are particularly vulnerable to data breaches because they often lack the resources to invest in solid cybersecurity defences. According to the 2019 Cybersecurity Report from Symantec, 43 percent of all data breaches in 2018 involved SMBs.

What Can You Do to Prevent Data Leakage?

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent data leakage. Here are some of the most effective:

  1. Educate your employees about the risks of data leakage.
  2. Implement security controls to prevent data leakage.
  3. Monitor your network for signs of data leakage.
  4. Respond quickly if you suspect that data has leaked.

You can protect your company from the potentially devastating consequences of data leakage by taking these steps.

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The Severity of Cybercrime Today

The severity of cybercrime increases every year, and data leakage is a significant contributor to this problem. According to the 2019 Cybersecurity Report from Symantec, the total number of cybercrime victims increased by 12 percent in 2018, and the total cost of cybercrime rose to $2.7 trillion. Data leakage was responsible for some of the most costly and damaging data breaches in 2021, including the Equifax breach, which affected 147 million people and cost the company $4 billion. The WannaCry ransomware attack affected more than 230,000 people in 150 countries and cost organizations $4 billion. The Marriott breach affected 500 million people and cost the company $124 million.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Organizations that suffer data breaches can face significant financial penalties, especially if they are non-compliant with data protection regulations. For example, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies can be fined up to 4 percent of their global annual revenue or €20 million (about $24 million), whichever is greater, for a data breach. In the United States, companies can also be subject to state laws and regulations and federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). SOX, for example, imposes fines of up to $5 million for companies that suffer data breaches, while HIPAA can result in penalties of up to $1.5 million. Data leakage is a serious problem with potentially devastating consequences. By taking steps to prevent it, you can protect your company from financial penalties, damage to its reputation, and loss of customer trust.

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