Employee Negligence Is the Main Cause of Data Breaches

Employee Negligence Is the Main Cause of Data Breaches

While organizations are accelerating the digital transformation pace to support remote or hybrid work, malicious actors are leveraging the vulnerabilities in these environments, causing headaches for security teams. Cloud migration and the quality of at-home networks create numerous cybersecurity issues for companies. Threats are constantly evolving, yet one consistent vulnerability remains the same – employees. The data collected by the Ponemon Institute and Tessian show that 3 in 5 firms experience accidental data loss over email. Organizations should become aware of the risk and, most importantly, ascertain their security measures are up to the challenge. 

The data stolen can be customer information, intellectual property, or consumer information. Sensitive information falls under user-created data (email content, text files, documents in connection to mergers and acquisitions), regulated data (Social Security numbers, credit card information, employee data), and intellectual property. Everyone makes mistakes. Regrettably, those mistakes lead to data breaches. Since it’s not possible to identify deviant employee data handling behaviors, there’s no way of identifying data loss incidents. As a consequence of this lack of visibility, it can take IT security teams days, weeks even to detect and remediate problems. 

What Happens If an Employee Fails to Comply with the GDPR? 

The purpose of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to protect the personal data and data security of EU citizens and residents. Nevertheless, many US-based companies fall under the GDPR’s reach. Even if a US-based business doesn’t have any employees or offices within the boundaries of the European Union, the GDPR may still apply. Every organization is required to have protocols in place to deal with data leaks. Even if a data breach isn’t reported, the company must take note of the incident and be able to justify it. 

Data subjects are entitled to damages if a controller or processor violates the GDPR. If they refuse to pay the damages claimed, the victim can sue by virtue of the GDPR. In addition to the EU GDPR, the UK GDPR requires additional protections for the transfer of information. Anyone is able to bring a claim for breach of privacy in the UK. Breaching the GDPR can have drastic consequences for the company involved. Data loss leads to losing revenue, as potential customers may want to explore other options. Let’s not forget about reputational loss. A company’s brand is inextricably linked to how it manages and mitigates cybersecurity risks. 

A Data Breach Takes Place When the Data for Which Your Company Is Accountable Suffers a Security Incident

It’s tempting to think that the biggest threat to the company is external. The truth is that loyal and trained employees pose cybersecurity risks. As a business, it’s crucial to review internal processes and training. Some data leaks may be caused by employees with a grudge. They might hand over sensitive information to the competition or alter the data because they’re not satisfied with the results. Other times, data breaches may occur due to negligence and might have been prevented with cybersecurity training, processes, procedures, and tools. Here’s an example. An employee forwards an email to their personal email address due to a lack of technical knowledge. 

Errors can be caused by innocent actions, which cause as much damage as threat actors. Suppose an employee lost their work laptop. The computer contains a wealth of business data. If it were to fall into the wrong hands, it would be a recipe for disaster. It’s not safe to assume that no one can access sensitive files. The IT personnel or the supervisor at the company should be contacted immediately. To mitigate data loss incidents, companies need to eb proactive in improving employee cybersecurity behaviors. There are many opportunities for error, negligence, or ill intent. 

What Is Considered Personal Data Under The GDPR? 

Since the inception of the GDPR, there’s been a great deal of confusion regarding what qualifies as personal data. To put it simply, personal data is any piece of information that is related to a person who can be identified, directly or indirectly. It can include names, location data, identification numbers, and so forth. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that this information isn’t limited to a specific format. It can take the shape of audio, video, graphical, numerical, and photographic data. An example would be a kid’s drawing of their family, which is realized as part of a psychiatric evaluation. 

Let’s stop for a bit to talk about sensitive personal data. Sensitive personal data is subject to specific processing conditions, which translates into the fact that businesses must treat it with the highest caution. It’s any information that relates to racial/ethnic origin, political opinions, religious/philosophical beliefs, genetic data, trade union membership, and biometric data. The data should only be kept on laptops or devices if the file has been encrypted. 

It’s Best to Prevent a Data Breach from Occurring in The First Place 

As mentioned earlier, the GDPR gives victims of data breaches the right to seek compensation from an organization if they’ve suffered financial or psychological damage as a result of the incident. They may be reimbursed for their losses if they have definite proof a data breach has taken place. When discussing data breach compensation, it’s useful to call on past examples. Uber was fined $148 million in 2018 for a data breach that took place in 2016. Fifty-seven million accounts of Uber users around the world were breached. Rather than reporting the incident, the company decided to pay the perpetrator $100,000. 

The question now is: What’s an organization to do? Well, restricting access is one way to make sure the data isn’t vulnerable to cyber thieves. It’s best to set up user roles with different levels of access for the internal systems. Equally important is to amp up training. The depth of the content may not be sufficient to drive behavioral change. Employees should understand that their actions could put the organization at risk. It’s necessary to continually audit and re-evaluate efforts. With the risk posed by employees, it’s hardly surprising that an ever-increasing number of firms are taking a tougher approach to security threats. 

Filed under:


Welcome to ChicagoNow.

our bloggers,

post comments, or

pitch your blog idea.

Meet The Blogger

Paul M. Banks

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and ChicagoNow.
He’s been a featured guest in dozens of media outlets including The History Channel. His work has been cited in hundreds of publications including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.


Current Events (144)
Media (60)
Activism (45)
Progressives (43)
Uncategorized (32)
History (32)
Conservatives (32)
Republicans (31)
Policy (30)
Democrats (21)

Subscribe by Email

Completely spam free, opt out any time.

Latest on ChicagoNow

Employee Negligence Is the Main Cause of Data Breaches

from The Patriotic Dissenter by Paul M. Banks
posted today at 11:48 am

Summerize Your Skin & Beauty Routine With These Products

from Just N by Nekia Nichelle
posted today at 10:00 am

The Tyranny of Book Banning

from The Quark In The Road by Aquinas wired
posted today at 9:47 am

Boeing’s Starliner is Ready for Launch: How to Watch OFT-2

from Cosmic Chicago by Sophie Sanchez
posted Thursday at 4:12 pm

Clouds, then Sun!

from Chicago Weather Watch by Weather Girl
posted Thursday at 2:45 pm

Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area


It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

About ChicagoNow



Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.