7 Common Causes of Data Breach

Data breach is the exposure of customer information and it is becoming a more common (and frightening) occurrence. Could your business be the next victim, left to face tremendous financial costs, lost customers and lost reputation?

Consider these common causes of data breach:

1. Missing or stolen laptop that contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII). How can this happen?

  • Your laptop is stolen from your unoccupied, parked vehicle.
  • Luggage containing your laptop fails to arrive at the correct destination.
  • Your laptop is stolen from your business or home office.

 2. Misdirected PII. How can this happen?

  • Documents are faxed to the wrong number.
  • Bills, statements, etc. are sent to the wrong address.
  • PII is emailed to the incorrect recipient.

3. PII is posted or printed in a public venue. How can this happen?

  • PII was accidentally posted to a public website.
  • PII that became public record was not edited or obscured.

4. Compromised computer system or network. How can this happen?

  • Your computer has a virus, spyware “bot” or Trojan horse.
  • Your company wi-fi network has been left open or is improperly secured.
  • Your system has been hacked or accessed (suspicious email attachments).

5. Loss of theft of physical documents. How can this happen?

  • Documents containing PII were shipped but failed to arrive at the correct destination.
  • Documents are stolen or missing following a break-in.

6. Breach caused by a vendor. How can this happen?

  • A payroll processor or benefits provider suffers a breach that exposes your employees’ PII.
  • A vendor loses data while handling PII on behalf of your business.

7. Improper document disposal or destruction. How can this happen?

  • Backup data that you have submitted for destruction is unaccounted for.
  • Your documents and/or document destruction storage areas are unsecured.
  • Documents containing PII are recycled or left exposed.

Being aware of these common causes of data breach is the first step towards implementing safeguards that will help to lessen the threat to your business.

Find more information on our blog about data security and what business owners need to know.

Are you covered? Society’s comprehensive cyber liability insurance provides data security and privacy coverage, expert claims handling, and data breach response services. Contact your local Society agent to discuss this extra layer of protection for your business.


As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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