‘Loose lips sinks ships.’ The ol’ maritime saying may not appear relevant today, but its sentiment is alive with the threat of data leakage. Even with the strongest cybersecurity software, having sloppy data protocols can expose sensitive information and put your company at risk of going under.

What is Data Leakage?

Data leakage occurs when a company’s sensitive information is unintentionally exposed during an exchange with a third party. This could include exposing private financial information, account credentials, customer information, or any information you would’ve wished to keep quiet.

How Data Leakage Happens

The vast majority of the time, data leakage results from human error. When your employees fail to follow safety procedures, your cybersecurity will rarely have the ability to catch up to their mistakes.

Phishing

With cybersecurity software getting stronger by the day, hackers typically resort to gaining access to companies by preying on the trust of your employees.

Hackers will impersonate other third-party companies to coax out private information from your employees. If successful, hackers get a free pass straight past your security measures and into all of your valuable data.

Employees Using Outside Devices

Not taking your work home isn’t just good for your personal life and prevents data leakage.

When employees access sensitive information on devices outside your company’s overview, that data is no longer protected by your cybersecurity and becomes much more vulnerable to being exposed to data leakage.

Third-Party Exposure

Data exposure isn’t just an in-house issue. The more third-party companies have access to or receive your private information, the risk you’re taking that your data is being exposed by the malpractice of one of your collaborators. 

This can also occur through employee mistakes, as employees can occasionally send your company’s private information to the wrong people and place your data at the mercy of their mistaken recipient.

The Devastating Affects Of Data Leakage

With data leakage, all it takes is one tiny slip-up to lead to massive damages that are challenging for your company to recover from.

Exposed To Cyberattacks

When hackers get ahold of private information, all hell breaks loose. 

Hackers use private information to either wreak havoc and hold your company up for a costly ransom, or just sell the data on the dark web so other hackers can use that data to infiltrate your company further. 

No matter what a hacker decides to do with your information, it’s safe to say that you won’t like the end result.

Losing Your Competitive Advantage

If your sensitive information goes public, there’s no shortage of people who can access it. This includes your competitors, who can evaluate your information and stay one step ahead of your company.

Spoils Relationships

When data leaks occur, your company is not the only victim. Data leaks can jeopardize customers’ privacy and potentially expose the private information other companies have entrusted to you, as their sensitive information may be up for grabs and lead to further privacy disruptions.

If your clients or business partners are caught in a data leak, it can permanently fracture your relationships. They may cease to trust you and potentially refuse to work with you in the future.

There is also a legal component at play. If your company is legally responsible for protecting your clients’ or partners’ information, a data leak could open you up to expensive legal liability.

Jeopardizes Government Compliance

If your company works with government contacts, you’re probably well aware of the high-security protocols they demand.

Just one data leak can do enough damage to make you lose these lucrative government contracts and block any chance of working with another government-affiliated company in the future due to your reputation of being an ‘unsecured’ company.

How To Prevent Data Leakage

By now, you can grasp the dangers of data leakage. What’s most important now is that you make the necessary adjustments so your company isn’t also a victim of these leaks.

Training

The best way to solve any problem is to stop it before it happens. With data leaks, this starts with training your employees on the proper safety protocols so they fully understand what your company requires of them and can be held accountable for any mistakes they make.

In addition, it’s also vital to educate your employees on cyberattack tactics such as phishing. If your employees know the threats waiting to strike, they will be more likely to act cautiously and avoid easy hacker traps.

Limit Data Access

The fewer people that have access to your sensitive information, the fewer opportunities there are for someone to make a mistake.

Limit the access to your sensitive information to as few people as possible. Doing this isn’t just about not trusting your employees but also having stronger preventative safeguards. Hackers will go after everyone’s accounts, regardless of status. The less data that is shared between accounts, the more likely you can limit hacks at its source.

Evaluate Third-Party Partners

Preventing data leakage isn’t just watching over your own actions, but also the actions of your partners.

Your third-party partners are just as important to keeping your data safe as your own employees, yet they have much less consideration to keep a watchful eye against your data leakage.

Before trusting your partners with sensitive information, make sure to evaluate their encryption policies. There’s nothing wrong with requiring increased security protocols while working with outsiders. If your collaborators don’t take their cybersecurity seriously enough, then it’s best not to partner with them for the safety of your data.

Use a Data Security Platform like Traceless

Sometimes, you’ll need a little help plugging up all your weak spots or employee mistakes to stop data leakage.

Bringing on a Data Security Platform (DSP) will reinforce your security protocols by adding technology designed to limit the risk of data leakage and provide a safety net that’s designed to keep your information private.

At Traceless, our features, such as our self-destruction email service and multi-factor authentication, create protected collaborations between companies and more peace of mind that your company’s data won’t fall into the wrong hands.

If you want to preserve your business’ privacy, contact us at Traceless, and we’ll be happy to demonstrate how our platform will help you safely communicate without leaving a trace.