A data leak occurs almost every day in the U.S., and citizen and corporate information is stolen. Some leaks result from hackers gaining illegal access to restricted systems, but others occur because of human error at organizations such as hospitals, insurance companies and universities.
These data leaks range from the small — affecting just a few people — to the colossal — affecting millions, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s list of data breaches.
Data breaches on the personal level can have devastating consequences, such as identity theft. But on the enterprise side, data breaches cannot only damage a company’s reputation but also result in the loss of future business, according to Mary Clarke, CEO of Cognisco, a knowledge assessment and learning solutions provider.
“A serious data leakage issue could haunt a business for years by impacting customer confidence and reducing future sales,” she said. “Once trust is lost among customers, it is not easily regained.”
The most recently documented data breach occurred at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry. In early October, the college discovered that more than 330,000 patient records were compromised due to the presence of rogue software.
“This issue [of data security] affects not just an organization like the University of Florida, but many large organizations, both in the higher education community, as well as in the commercial space,” said Mark Bower, director of information protection solutions at Voltage Security, an enterprise security company specializing in information encryption.
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