Human error still the number one cause of data breaches

There have been significantly more data breaches this year, compared to the year before, new figures from Egress Software Technologies suggest.

The company cross-checked data from security breaches in the past three years and says that 66 per cent of the business sectors surveyed reported an increase in data breach occurrences.

It would have been even higher if healthcare organisations haven't had 'just' a 13 per cent increase.

Attacks against insurance firms jumped 317 per cent, general businesses 157 per cent, solicitors and barristers 127 per cent, and even charities at 109 per cent.

But perhaps even more worryingly, the report says that human error accounted for almost two thirds of these attacks (62 per cent), far outstripping other causes like insecure webpages or hacking, which stand at nine per cent combined.

“Human error and data breach incidents continue to go hand-in-hand,” says Egress CEO Tony Pepper. “Time and again we’re faced with this reality and yet as today’s statistics show, little effective action seems to have been taken to improve the situation. Clearly at a board level, mistakes continue to be made as priorities aren’t balanced, leaving companies exposed.”

The report also says the upcoming EU GDPR will ‘raise the stakes’, especially when it comes to reporting data breaching incidents. Even though businesses are encouraged to report on a breach as soon as it happens, they’re not obliged to do so by law.

This will change once the EU General Data Protection Regulation kicks in, which will force businesses to disclose a breach within 72 hours of the event, in case sensitive information gets compromised.