The damaging after-effects of a data breach

With the number of data breaches increasing every year, they are now a huge issue for organisations. 46% of all UK businesses identified at least one cyber breach in the past 12 months and it’s been predicted that a quarter of the world’s population will have been affected by a data breach by 2020. It should be obvious that it’s a priority for companies to learn how to keep data secure.

How are breached businesses affected?

A business suffers in many ways when it falls victim to a data breach, one of which is dealing with the financial repercussions. There are a range of different costs associated with a data breach, such as paying back any money taken as a result of the breach, compensating affected customers, share value plummeting and having to pay for the right protection to ensure a breach doesn’t happen again.

In addition, breached companies can be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), with penalties reaching a maximum of £500,000. This figure will drastically increase when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in May 2018.

After paying off fines, the breached company also has to deal with reputational damage. Breaches have a massive negative impact on a company’s customer base, particularly if the breach involved sensitive data. Customers lose confidence in the brand and don’t feel that their data is secure. A breach also puts off many potential customers.

The impact of a breach is tied to the type of data involved. If the organisation’s confidential data has been exposed, it can have catastrophic effects. If personal and financial details of staff and customers are breached, those people are left open to the risk of identity theft.

In 2015, TalkTalk suffered a data breach in which the details of more than 150,000 customers were stolen, including bank account details of about 15,000 of those customers. The company lost 95,000 subscribers as a result of the attack, costing it £60 million. On top of that, TalkTalk was also fined £400,000 by the ICO. However, TalkTalk subsequently failed to adequately protect its data and, earlier this year, the details of more than 21,000 people were unlawfully taken. On this occasion, the company was fined £100,000.

How can you prevent a data breach?

The only solution to the growing threat of cyber attacks is to implement a robust approach that tackles all aspects of information security and business continuity throughout the organisation.

An information security management system (ISMS) helps you manage all your security processes in one place, consistently and cost-effectively. ISO 27001 provides the basis for managing data security using an integrated set of policies, procedures and technology. Accredited certification to ISO 27001 demonstrates to existing and potential customers that an organisation has defined and put in place best-practice information security processes, thereby reducing the risk of a data breach.

Avoid data breaches and their repercussions by implementing the right tools and training in your organisation.

Learn from the developers of the original ISO27001 Certified ISMS Lead Implementer course and get to grips with the nine steps to implementing an ISMS.