The Problem with Data Breach Fatigue

A data breach (or unintentional leak of sensitive information) is an extremely common occurrence for businesses and other organizations—so much so that we become accustomed to dealing with them on nearly a daily basis. Becoming blasé when it comes to data breaches is known as “data breach fatigue” and is not a good thing. The statistics behind data breaches can be alarming as they are so common: in fact, in 2018 half a billion personal records were stolen from data breaches alone!

Because data breaches have become so common, people have gotten accustomed to them and are less likely to protect themselves efficiently. The problem lies with motivation: if an organization’s cybersecurity team is unmotivated, they are less likely to take immediate action. The Ponemon Institute conducted a 2014 data report and concluded that over 50 percent of survey takers did nothing to protect themselves against identity theft (such as frequently changing their passwords). So, how can cybersecurity professionals inspire others to remain motivated and to combat data breach fatigue and why is this so important?

Data Breach Fatigue

Make Communication a Top Priority

Communicate in order to raise cybersecurity awareness. Yes, for those in Information Technology: data breach can seem like a broken record. Also, those affected by a data breach can feel powerless as their information may be in danger but it’s still important to take key steps such as changing passwords and checking credit scores. People have become inured to information leaks and cyber scams; some even completely ignore what’s happening. According to Michael Bruemmer, a vice president of consumer protection at the Experian Data Breach Resolution Group, there are some steps that can be taken in order to quell the onslaught of a data breach within a company. It’s important to keep everyone up to date and informed on what has happened; be factual and to-the-point but don’t use technical jargon that cannot be understood by a customer. It’s extremely helpful to give customers a step-by-step list of ways in which they can secure themselves and protect their information from fraud.

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Ignoring It Won’t Make It Go Away

Ignoring data breaches only makes matters worse: companies whose information is at risk are in more danger than the layperson as their entire business may be at stake. Customers are less likely to trust a company that is unable to secure their private information. Small businesses are especially in danger as the cost of a data breach can be quite high. A breach in healthcare-related data could end up in a class-action lawsuit. For example, American healthcare provider Banner Health was in the news amidst a scandal: their company made a payout to the tune of six million dollars (as a settlement for a 2016 data breach). Not only is the major loss of funds a problem for business but reputation is also at stake. This is why one cannot become complacent; data breach fatigue can be very serious and make or break a business.

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Stay Vigilant

It is important to remain hopeful and vigilant even though cyberattacks are common. It is crucial that business professionals are diligent in handling whatever may arise. According to Infosecurity Magazine, the number of data breaches has inspired a decrease in confidence among professionals but, on the bright side, this has at least helped to raise awareness among the public. It is easier and even more encouraging to stay vigilant with increased awareness around the world—from consumers to IT professionals. No matter the magnitude or frequency of data breaches, data breach fatigue is even worse and can be very harmful. For more information on data breaches, their lingering effects and how to combat fatigue, consult Cybint’s well of cybersecurity-related expertise.

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Katherine Sloan

Katherine is a New York City-based freelance writer and editor whose work mostly explores art, literary themes and film. She has also most recently forayed into the world of STEM editing. You can read her non-fiction essays at A Gathering of the Tribes and Overture Global.