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A Data Breach is a breach of sensitive data. It can be caused by human or technical factors and has significant impacts on organizations and individuals.

The most common breaches occur due to hackers but there are other causes as well. For example, insiders could steal information or a laptop left unattended could be used to breach protected data.

Depending on the nature of the breach, there are several steps to take. The first step is identifying the source and scope of the breach and assessing the impact to your organization.

Assessing the impact to your organization can help you determine if you need to inform individuals of the breach and how soon they need to be notified. It also helps you determine the level of risk to your organization and what actions to take if a high risk is identified.

Individuals whose personal information is stolen may face identity theft or fraud. They may have their banking details, medical information, or Social Security numbers stolen, which can be used to file tax returns or open new accounts in their name.

Consequences of a data breach vary but can include fines, financial loss, and reputational damage. This can be particularly devastating for public institutions, such as government agencies and those that store highly confidential information.

In addition to advising affected individuals of the breach, organizations must notify the ICO as soon as possible. This is to prevent unauthorized use of data and help people mitigate the damage.