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Data Breach

Data Breach is when sensitive, protected or confidential information is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual or entity not authorized to do so. This information may include financial data, personal health information, login credentials for banks, online accounts and social media sites, or passwords.

It’s a good idea to have a communication plan that outlines how your company will notify customers if a breach occurs. The sooner you get out in front of the issue, the less damage it can cause your brand. Be sure to keep people informed and don’t make misleading statements. Be prepared to answer the questions people will have and have clear, simple answers posted on your website or through other channels.

A breach can have many consequences for the victims, from ruined credit to a loss of privacy. If thieves obtain names and Social Security numbers, victims can find it difficult to sign up for new bank accounts, rent apartments or secure loans. Credit card companies and utility providers may also experience problems when they don’t have the right address, phone number or other identifying information on file.

Businesses can suffer from a loss of revenue and a loss of trust. When customers and contributors lose faith in an organization, they may turn to competitors that are perceived as more trustworthy. If a data breach results in intellectual property being published online, a business could face lawsuits for copyright infringement. For example, the Ashley Madison hack exposed the personal information of millions of users and resulted in a large loss of business for that dating website.