The results can be disastrous when a business or organisation suffers from a data leak. Whether it’s confidential business data like inventory records, transaction histories, or customer information that’s been compromised, no business ever wants to face this kind of issue. More than the potential loss of profits, losing your customers’ faith and trust can significantly impact your business.
Knowing what a data leak is and how it happens is one way to avoid it. More importantly, letting a team of experts handle your data during data migration, for example, also plays a big part.
What is a Data Leak?
A data leak happens when sensitive data is accidentally exposed to unauthorised people. The most common causes are poor data security, poor or absence of employee training, and old or outdated systems.
Even if it’s only a minor data leak, this small vulnerability in your systems can cause bigger headaches and lead to a significant data breach, identity theft, or even ransomware installation if you don’t properly address the problem ASAP.
Data Leaks and Data Breaches―Are They the Same?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re pretty different. While both involve exposure of data, how the data is exposed establishes whether it’s a data leak or a data breach.
A data leak exposes internal data, while a data breach happens when an internal or external attack breaches the system or network and gains unauthorised access. In short, data leaks are usually accidental, while data breaches are generally malicious and done on purpose.
But make no mistake―even a seemingly innocent data leak can be manipulated by cybercriminals to launch a major data breach. They only need just one data leak to get their plan into action. This is why businesses should understand just how crucial it is to know what causes data leaks and how to prevent them.
How Does a Data Leak Happen?
There are many reasons a data leak happens. More often than not, it’s because of an internal problem in an organisation. Take a look at the most common causes of data leaks below:
1. Old Data
When your business grows, so does the data you gather from your employees and customers. When you regularly update your systems and data infrastructure, all these changes can also increase the risk of data leaks.
2. Bad or Weak Infrastructure
Another reason sensitive data can be unintentionally exposed is faulty configuration or permissions and settings errors. Even an old software installation can potentially leak data as well. This is why organisations should invest in a sound infrastructure to protect data.
3. Weak Password Policies
When your employees don’t set more secure passwords and simply reuse one password for all their accounts, it can be very easy to launch a credential stuffing attack. A credential stuffing attack happens when bots inject stolen login credentials into different websites to access various users’ accounts, expose these accounts, and leak data.
4. Vulnerable Legacy Storage
Many small business owners still use outdated storage systems that are no longer compatible with newer systems. This can be problematic. Legacy data storage practices make your data more susceptible to manipulation, destruction, and theft. For example, you can’t receive notifications when there are changes made to settings or permissions, which means data leaks can go undetected.
5. Poor Data Migration
When data migration is not adequately planned or executed, data loss or leaks can occur. Important data may not be migrated to the new system, and some can be left over in the source system, leaving it vulnerable to unauthorised internal and external access.
Avoid Data Leaks: Hire a Data Migration Expert
A lot of data leaks are because of operational issues. These include both human and technical errors. While robust cyber security strategies can help, it’s crucial to work with a team of data migration experts who can plan, implement, and audit the entire data migration steps and anticipate any problems that may arise.
You should not trust your sensitive data with just anyone, even with your employees. Data migration should only be handled by data migration specialists. Aside from providing the proper data migration solutions your business needs and doing it within your timeline and budget, data migration specialists have the knowledge and experience.
They follow a structured approach that will minimise data migration risks while employing industry best practices. Furthermore, they can work with legacy systems and multiple sources and ensure that your sensitive or confidential data are protected.
Let’s talk about your requirements―no commitment―and find out how we can help you with your data migration project. Call, email, or chat to request a demo.