Causes of Data Breaches: How to Increase Your Business Security


In today’s digital age, businesses are increasingly reliant on technology. From online systems and cloud storage to social media and mobile applications, technology has transformed the way businesses operate. Unfortunately, this also makes them prime targets for cybercriminals. 

In fact, data breaches have become an increasingly common occurrence, affecting businesses such as OG and KrisShop in Singapore. Breaches can occur through a variety of means, such as hacking, malware, and social engineering. In addition to the direct costs associated with repairing the damage and replacing lost data, businesses also face the risk of losing customers and damaging their reputations. 

As companies can now be imposed a data breach fine of up to $1 million under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), it is clear that they need to take steps to protect themselves from the threat of data breaches. If you are a business owner, it is crucial to identify and address potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers. 

Common causes of data breaches

1. Outdated software

When a software programme is created, its code includes certain security features to protect the data it contains from being accessed or stolen by unauthorised individuals. However, over time, these security features may become outdated, leaving the programme vulnerable to attack. This is often the case with older software programmes that are no longer supported by the manufacturer. That being said, even newer systems can be at risk if they are not properly maintained. 

When software and applications are not regularly updated, they can provide an entry point for hackers. Hackers are constantly searching for new ways to exploit weaknesses in systems, and it is critical to keep up with the latest security patches. In many cases, data breaches occur because organisations fail to apply updates in a timely manner. 

One way to remind your employees to update their software is to set up automatic reminders. These can be sent via email or text message. Another way to prompt employees is to include updates in your company’s regular e-newsletter. This way, your staff will see the reminder as they’re reading about other company news and updates. In the office, you can also post reminders in common areas such as the pantry and meeting rooms. By using these simple techniques, you can help ensure that your employees are taking the necessary steps to maintain a high level of cybersecurity. 

2. Weak passwords

While there are many factors that can contribute to a breach, one of the most important is password security. If your employees are using simple words or easily guessed phrases, hackers can easily gain access to their accounts. Even if a password is not guessed, it can still be compromised through phishing schemes or other methods of social engineering. 

Once a hacker has access to one account, they can easily move laterally to other accounts with weaker security measures. This is why it is essential for users to choose strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess. Longer passwords that include a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters are more secure than shorter ones made up of common words. 

3. Reused passwords

Furthermore, it is important to use different passwords for different accounts. The quest for convenience often leads people to reuse the same password every time. This creates a single point of failure – if a hacker is able to obtain the password for one account, they can then gain access to all other accounts that use that same password. Using different passwords thus ensures that even if one password is compromised, the rest of your company’s accounts will remain secure. 

Additionally, one of the best ways to protect your company’s data is to make password-changing mandatory for employees. Most recently, Tanah Merah Country Club was fined $4,000 as their employee did not change the password to her email account for nearly five years. By requiring your staff to change their passwords often, you can ensure that everyone is following the best practices for cybersecurity.  

4. Human error

Finally, whether it’s an employee clicking on a phishing email or falling for a scam, all it takes is one mistake to jeopardise an entire company’s data. As awareness of cybersecurity risks continues to grow, employee cybersecurity training will become increasingly important. By teaching employees how to spot red flags, your business can go a long way toward preventing data breaches. 

Be protected

While many companies are slowly taking ownership of their security posture, the reality is that no organisation is immune from these threats. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and even the most well-protected businesses can be vulnerable to a data breach. Given the high cost of recovering from a cyber attack, it is essential that companies invest in cyber risk and data protection insurance. This type of insurance is designed to protect businesses in Singapore from the financial losses that can result from a data breach or other cyber attack.

There are two main types of coverage: first-party coverage and third-party coverage. First-party coverage protects you from direct losses, such as business interruption or costs incurred in data restoration. Third-party coverage protects you from liability for damages caused to others, such as your customers. As the risks posed by data breaches continue to rise, so does the need for cyber insurance coverage.

If you are interested in purchasing a comprehensive policy that specifically covers these scenarios, get in touch with Expat Insurance today.