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Most Common Causes of an Enterprise Data Breach

It seems every week there is another news story about a big profile company suffering a data breach, surrendering personally identifiable information of clients to cybercriminals. These public data breaches bring to light the issue of cybersecurity and can have you wondering what the most common causes of data breaches are?

What is a Data Breach?

Any unauthorized access to sensitive personal information can be classified as a data breach. Cybercrimes such as identity theft or theft of devices, such as mobile or laptop, contain personal information. Data breaches can either be international or unintentional private/confidential releases or secure information to an untrusted environment. 

Below are the most common causes of an enterprise data breach:

Weak Passwords

Hacking attacks are one of the most common causes of a data breach, and it’s usually due to weak passwords. Cybercriminals keep a database of common passwords they share, making it easy to bypass the company’s security. It is essential to train staff on choosing strong passwords that do not have personal relevance. The most robust passwords incorporate a mix of random numbers and letters. 

Managing employees’ passwords can be difficult, but software out there, such as , enterprise password managers helps companies manage and generate secure passwords for all employees. A password manager would also offer two-factor authentication that provides a second level of security. 


Malware is malicious software that gives hackers access to your network and computers when opened on a computer. Malware’s entire purpose is to get around a network’s software security measures, which gives a cybercriminal direct access to your businesses’ computer systems. Be aware, and make sure employees are aware of accessing the website or opening emails with suspicious origins. Using antivirus software improves security measures on your network to stop malware from being downloaded. 

Malicious Insiders

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Many employees will have access to sensitive information, and there sometimes is a chance that someone will try to misuse the information. The lure of financial gain from selling company information to the dark web is too great to ignore. Unfortunately, a  disgruntled employee might use sensitive details maliciously.

Insider Errors

Employees don’t need to be malicious to commit a data breach. Employees can make a mistake, such as using the wrong person in the cc field of an email, losing information, or attaching false documents. 

Application Vulnerabilities

Most software will have technical vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit in numerous ways. That’s why it is important to keep software and systems up to date.  When vulnerabilities are fixed, the software provider releases a patch that needs to be applied by companies using the program. 

Failing to Control Access

Typically companies have the best intentions to restrict access to all areas of the network while granting minimum access to each staff member depending on their level of need. Over time, as positions change, companies can lose track of who has access to what. These oversights are beneficial to hackers who can access old login credentials or passwords, bypassing conventional security measures. 

How to Detect a Data Breach

To safeguard your company from a data breach, follow these tips to keep information secure and safe from cybercriminals.

  • Stay up to date  – cybercriminals outreach is continually evolving, which is why your business needs to keep data, software, networks, and mobile devices up to date to better secure sensitive information. 
  • Bring in Cybersecurity Professionals – employing people who know about protecting against cybercriminals might be something your company wants to look into for monitoring and keeping your data secure.
  • Provide Regular Staff Awareness Training – a lot of the time, negligence is a significant factor for a data breach. Companies should provide their employees with regular training on identifying attacks and vulnerabilities and what to do next.

Final Thoughts

The causes of a data breach are real.  Companies might have trouble mitigating threats without external help. But it is essential to ensure that your business’s systems are protected if employees are sending personal information online.