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Data leaks: How can they affect sales and business integrity?

There were as many as 1,395 data leaks registered last year. IBM estimated the total cost of data breaches to be an astonishing $3.8 million. Data leaks, rampant in recent times, can significantly undermine the integrity of businesses and reduce organisational sales. Sometimes they cannot be stopped, even with the most stringent of security measures. But more often, they happen due to the negligence and incorrect focus on security measures. In just 12 months, we’ve seen an increase of nearly 23% in the average total cost of a data breach. Here’s a look at some of the most well known data leaks and what they mean.

Anthem

The Anthem incident in 2015 was one of the worst cases of data leaks and over 80 million customers and employees of the insurance organisation, including their names, contact information, income data and Social Security numbers were leaked. The entire situation caused Anthem to lose over $100 million, and the losses are still piling up with experts estimating that it might run up to $16 billion. The attack lasted several weeks, and the company had to take a series of steps to ensure that the stolen information was not misused.

Ashley Madison

About 33 million accounts, including email information, names and phone numbers of users were leaked. Ashley Madison is one of the most popular dating websites, and the data breach means that they might end up losing up to $850 million. The company, owned by Avid Life Media, lost all reputation after all the information was leaked out to the public by hackers. Interestingly, it seems that the hackers did not steal any credit card information.

eBay

eBay suffered one of the biggest setbacks in its existence when a cyber-attack sent the company into panic – the personal information of over 145 million users were leaked. It cost the e-commerce giant around $200 million. According to a statement by eBay, no financial information was stolen. The incident is considered as one of the biggest data breaches of all time, considering how high profile the organisation is.

Effect On Business Integrity

Data breaches can have serious repercussions on brand image and reputation. While brand image takes years to build, losing customer faith comes easy. For bigger organisations, data leaks not only undermine the credibility of institutions but also cause losses to run into millions and millions of dollars. Data leaks can lead to loss of personal information of customers as well as important information about businesses that can result in lawsuits and put financial details of scores of thousands at risk. Battling data breaches is not easy, and often you find out about the breach after the damage is done. The only way to mitigate this risk is to continuously evaluate security measures to ensure that your network and database are protected at all times.

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