Data Breach: What Is It And How To Avoid

If your business stores or processes sensitive and personal information, you should take data breaches seriously. A mistake can have huge financial and legal implications. It might even take years for your business to emerge from a data breach and its fallout.

The best way to avoid those consequences is to ensure a data breach doesn’t happen in the first place. Below is a guide describing this security threat and how your organization can avoid it.

What Is A Data Breach?

A data breach is a cyber incident or attack that exposes confidential or sensitive data. Unauthorized individuals may access or steal it, making the data available for illegal activities. Data breaches may involve important information like trade secrets, source code, customer data, or login credentials.

From small businesses to huge enterprises, anyone can become a victim of data breaches.

Equifax, one of the leading American credit bureaus, confirmed a massive data breach that affected more than 160 million people in 2017. Compromised personal information included credit card numbers, addresses, and birth dates. The company agreed to a $700-million settlement as a fallout.

Several wood blocks spelling "Equifax data"
Equifax suffered from one of the biggest data leaks in history.

In 2020, Uber had to pay a record penalty for concealing a breach affecting 57 million drivers and customers. Around 600,000 drivers in the US had their driver’s license numbers stolen by hackers.

These kinds of security incidents are becoming more common with grave consequences. You can put your organization at serious risk if you don’t take the necessary action to address this threat.

Possible Impact Of Data Breaches On Your Business

You can’t just revert a leak of data in this day and age. Once someone has on hand your confidential digital information, they can transmit it or create as many copies as they want.

As a result, data breaches can be a lasting problem for your organization when they occur. There are a lot of costs involved. Your operation, finances, and reputation can all take a hit at the same time.

Right after the data spill, the ensuing chaos would disrupt the operation of your business to some extent. Your IT department would need to quickly figure out what happened and why. Investigations take time and effort, even if they could help you patch the vulnerabilities within your system.

Some jurisdictions have breach notification laws. They require entities to notify their customers and relevant authorities. You might need to maintain constant communication for the months to come.

Fines, penalties, and other legal consequences would look certain too. The court and authorities might force you to upgrade and secure your system at your own cost to prevent further leaks. Reckless violations and negligence might even have your industrial permits revoked.

A gavel and three Euro notes
Data breaches can result in a huge fine.

But the loss of trust is probably the biggest cost among all of them. A data breach would taint the reputation of your organization forever. This isn’t something you could recoup in its entirety like a one-time fine.

Customers and partners might lose confidence in how your business is run, even when they aren’t victims of the breach. No one wants to patronize a business that doesn’t take security seriously. They will have serious doubt when the data at stake is people’s personal information like names and credit cards.

Common Causes Of Data Breaches

In some way or another, bad actors can obtain your sensitive data. This can even happen by chance when they don’t have you as a target at the beginning.

Compromised Credentials

This is by far the most popular way to break into an organization’s system. According to IBM, stolen credentials were responsible for about one-fifth of breaches in 2021.

Like many people, your employees may use weak work passwords that they remember or write down on a post-it note. To share them with co-workers, they may turn to unsecured channels like email or messaging apps. Catastrophic consequences can come with these bad habits.

A post-it note with "My password 123456" written on it
Stolen passwords are the primary cause of data breaches.

This was exactly how some juvenile hackers took control of several Twitter accounts in 2020. They managed to get into the company’s internal Slack channels. The credentials posted by Twitter’s employees allowed them to access the company’s servers.


Anyone in your organization can fall for various phishing methods these days. Fake websites and documents have become so sophisticated that they easily look real to untrained eyes.

Hackers can use social engineering to specifically target your employees. In the infamous Sony Pictures hack, the attackers took a huge amount of private data from the company’s corporate network. One of the key elements in the hack was spoofed emails made as if they came from Sony staffers.

Misconfigured Systems

Keeping your system up-to-date with the latest security patches and practices is a golden rule in security. However, even many top organizations don’t always adhere to it.

The postmortem analysis of the 2017 Equifax data breach concludes that the company didn’t implement a key security update. The hackers in question managed to find out and exploit this failure, gaining access to Equifax’s internal servers.

How Locker Can Help You Prevent Data Breaches

While password managers like Locker aren’t the sole solution to the problem, they can address many data theft risks.

On the individual level, Locker can make sure no one in your business has to settle with a weak password anymore. It can generate strong and unique passwords that are nearly impossible to guess. This also removes the need for reused passwords, which can link several accounts together and put them all at risk.

The sharing feature allows them to send and receive credentials in a secure way when needed, while auto-filling can help them avoid malicious phishing websites.

Screenshot of a sharing menu of a password item
Passing sharing becomes more secure with Locker.

On the administrative side, Locker for Business offers a comprehensive package for credentials management for the whole workforce. Administrators can assign different roles and permissions to individuals. This way, you can have finer control over password access within your organization and minimize unnecessary risks.

Your business can also set customized policies to personalize your security and improve password hygiene. They help enforce requirements for passwords and block logins from suspicious endpoints. These policies ensure the adoption of the best password practices at scale with minimal effort.

The intuitive, unified admin dashboard gives businesses a convenient way to monitor their credentials usage in one place. It gives you crucial insights into password activities and policies. By leveraging this dashboard, you can take action to improve your organization’s security and protect it against threats like data breaches.

Contact us right now to incorporate Locker into your organization to streamline password management and secure its operation.