Small businesses are at greater risk of data breaches

Hayes Connor SolicitorsNews of significant data breaches impacting large organisations is increasingly commonplace, a recent report however, has found that small businesses are at greater risk.

The 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, published by Verizon, found that amongst the 41,686 security incidents in both the public and private sector organisations in 86 countries, 43% affected small businesses. 

The public sector experienced 16% of all incidents followed by healthcare organisations (15%) and 10% in the financial industry.

The research also exposed that more than half (52%) of data breach incidents were a result of hacking and more than a third (36%) were due to human error or occurred following data misuse by authorised users.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cyber security specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “The findings will be a surprise to many small business owners, particularly as the data breaches that hit the headlines are those impacting high profile brands. It exposes the fact that no business, large or small, is immune from cyber security risks or data breaches resulting from human error.

“If an organisation holds, manages or processes personal data, the security of that information is of paramount importance – regardless of the size of the business or the volume of the data held. The impact on just one individual who falls victim to their personal information being compromised following the failure of a business to safeguard it is immeasurable.

“Certain private information placed in the wrong hands can lead to both significant financial and psychological damage with the effects potentially being felt for several years after a breach is detected.

Verizon’s research found that the majority of incidents took place within the public administration sector with 23,399 incidents – 330 of which led to confirmed data disclosures. 

The information sector came second with 1,094 data breaches – of which 155 involved data disclosure – and the financial and insurance sector experienced 927 incidents leading to 207 data disclosures. 

Kingsley Hayes continued: “Small businesses should take heed of the findings and take the appropriate measures to mitigate the risks.”

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