Unfortunately for businesses in the UK, 2015 seemed to be the “Year of the Data Breach”, thanks to the number of high profile companies that were reported to suffer from cyber security issues. The constant threat of cyber attacks and lack of security measures in place mean that many businesses, from your gas provider to your local pub chain, are potentially at risk to data breaches.

The scary part? It could be your information that is hacked, stolen, sold on, or used fraudulently.

 

Affecting 157,000 customers, this was the breach that particularly worried the nation.

 

Frankly, if these high profile companies don’t set a precedent in terms of cyber security for SMEs and other businesses in UK, customers’ confidence in your ability to protect their personal information will be compromised.

The 4 data breaches below prove that consumer trust in a company will wane if data protection solutions aren’t secure enough. It’s essential that all UK businesses learn from these examples when thinking of their own cyber security setup.

Without further ado, here are our 4 notable data breaches from 2015:

  1. Marks & Spencer. In October 2015, it wasn’t a hacking incident but a “technical fault” that resulted in M&S customers being able to view other users’ details on their website. This glitch reportedly affected around 800 customers, and although after brief website suspension the issue was resolved, this incident goes to show that it’s not always cyber criminals at the root of data breaches, but sometimes the inefficient security of the business’s data itself.
  2. British Gas. A few days on from the Marks & Spencer scandal, the Daily Telegraph reported on a gas leak of the cyber kind, as British Gas had to warn 2200 customers that their personal information could have been exposed online. Again, the reasons behind this data breach weren’t fully revealed. Instead, British Gas insisted that the issue did not arise from a cyber attack.
  3. TalkTalk. The largest data breach in October, however, was the TalkTalk hack, which was discussed on the blog previously. Affecting 157,000 customers, this was the breach that particularly worried the nation. Being an Internet service provider implicitly suggests to the consumer that cyber security would be a main priority, but this case proved that hackers with the right tools can really cause havoc with lasting consequences.
  4. JD Wetherspoon. In June, pub chain Wetherspoons experienced a data breach that potentially concerned around 650,000 customers, although they stated that it was in fact only a “tiny minority” of around 100 customers that were directly affected as the last four digits of their credit card numbers were leaked. Even more disturbing, however, was the fact that Wetherspoons only found out about the data breach, thought to be at the hands of a group of Russian hackers, 6 months later, in December 2015.

 

What can your business do to prevent data breaches?

Fortunately, there are many sophisticated tools on the market and tips and tricks designed to prevent and counterattack the threat of data breaches and other cyber attacks. From anti-virus software to firewalls, data exchange solutions to non-negotiable IT policies, there’s no excuse for poor cyber security practises in 2016.

Our data exchange solution, MX, was designed from the ground-up with security at its core.

MX provides a fast, easy to use and fully encrypted environment for sending and receiving files of any size and type, so your business can feel confident when exchanging sensitive data online.

Set your group, company or enterprise up in seconds, with our free 30 day trial. No obligation, no credit card required. Start exchanging securely at – www.mymxdata.com

 

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