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Customer Personal data ending up on the street: no organisation wants that. Besides reputational damage, the consequences for both your organisation and the victims can be serious. Fortunately, there are ways to get ahead of a data breach. How do you prevent a data breach? And what should you do if it does go wrong?

We explain how to prevent a data breach with a good document management system (DMS). With the right software, you protect your organisation, your employees and your customers.

When do we refer to a data breach?

In a data breach, personal data falls into the hands of people who should not have access to it. This includes data such as a phone number, name or address. Have you lost or destroyed confidential personal data without permission? Even then we speak of a data breach.

There are three types of data breaches:

  • Confidentiality: personal data is disclosed to unauthorised persons;
  • Integrity: personal data has been altered by unauthorised persons;
  • Availability: personal data is no longer available to authorised persons, as in a ransomware attack.

A data breach can arise from employees not being careful enough with information, or from business partners or suppliers not managing personal data properly. Laws and regulations on data security and management have been tightened in recent years and are becoming increasingly stringent. This is because a data breach can cause enormous damage to an organisation’s reputation. Organisations therefore want to do everything possible to prevent a breach of sensitive data.

Een datalek voorkomen met een DMS

What are the risks of a data breach?

The dangers of a data breach can be big and, unfortunately, they are becoming increasingly common. According to the Personal Data Authority’s data breach report, there were as many as 21,151 reports of a data breach in 2022. More than 6,500 reports involved cyber attacks that harmed people and organisations. There are several dangers of data breaches. Below, we list them for you.

Financial damage

Both victims and organisations can suffer financial damage as a result of a data breach.

For example, if credit card details were leaked in a data breach, there is a chance that criminals could place online orders at the victim’s expense. As a result, victims may receive bills from contracts they never entered into.

Has your organisation suffered a data breach? If so, there are financial risks. For instance, a hacker may demand large sums of money to release information again. If work comes to a standstill, there are also costs involved. Does your organisation have sensitive data that has been breached? Then disclosure of this data could lead to damage claims.

Physical damage

Direct physical damage will not often occur in a data breach. However, a few scenarios are thinkable. Has medical data been deleted or altered, causing someone to be misdiagnosed? Or having to wait longer for proper care? Then we speak of physical damage.

Intangible damage

Besides financial and physical damage, intangible damage can also occur. Consider reputation damage for the organisation where the data breach occurred. If customer data ends up on the street, it damages trust in the organisation.

There may also be a breach of a person’s privacy. Criminals can misuse confidential personal data in various ways. If sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, details about debts or addiction, for example, can be made public.

6 tips to avoid a data breach

So the consequences of a data breach can be quite serious. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to prevent data breaches.

Tip 1. Only collect sensitive information if you really need it

Look critically at the information you collect about individuals. Do you really need all this data? Collect only the necessary data from a person.

Tip 2. Create awareness among employees about information security

Make sure employees are aware of their role when it comes to information security. For example, make it clear what information they are allowed to share and what they should do if information is breached anyway. Does an external party control the processing of personal data? If so, enter into a processing agreement with them.

Tip 3. Remove sensitive information if you don’t need it

Have you found that you have a lot of information you don’t necessarily need? Or do you no longer need certain data? Then delete it.

Tip 4. Give only authorised people access to the information

Do you have sensitive personal data stored? Then make sure that only authorised people can access this information. You arrange this, for example, with a document management system.

Tip 5. Do not store sensitive information in many different places

By storing all sensitive information in a central place, you easily control who has access to it. This way, you keep an overview and information is also easy to retrieve.

Tip 6. Choose the right software for prevention

With the right software, you secure stored personal data. For example, do you choose document management software? Then you safely store personal data in a central, secure location and easily control who can access and edit it.

Zenya DOC, a SaaS-oplossing from Infoland, helps you minimise the risk of data breaches within your organisation. It allows you to keep control of information flows anytime and anywhere. You can also share information safely and easily with external parties. Zenya DOC not only ensures that the right information is quickly available; it also guarantees you full quality assurance. And because this is a SaaS solution, you can rest assured that the quality and reliability of the software is guaranteed.

Lentis GGZ chose Zenya to ensure that healthcare providers have access to the right patient information. And that this information is properly secured. Moreover, important documents are now easily kept up-to-date thanks to set notifications within Zenya. In this way, Lentis works safely with up-to-date data.

Thanks to Zenya, the organisation has also created more awareness about information security and employees now know where to report, for example, phishing emails.

Many of the employees did not know how to report a fake e-mail. I went to look in Zenya DOC myself and immediately found the right document there. I shared that link with our people.”

Zenya stimuleert informatieveilig gedrag bij Lentis GGZ
Lourens Dijkstra
CISO at Lentis

What to do in case of a data breach: a clear roadmap

Things did go wrong within your organisation and a data breach occurred? Then you can follow the following steps to minimise the impact.

  1. Check whether personal data is involved and therefore whether there really is a data breach. If it involves personal data, there may be a notification requirement.
  2. Is there a duty to report? Then you must report the breach within 72 hours of its discovery, unless the breach is unlikely to pose a risk to data subjects. If the data breach contains a high risk, the organisation must report the breach directly to those involved. Use this checklist to quickly discover whether you need to report the breach.
  3. Stop the data breach. You can do this by remotely erasing the data from a data carrier. Is it complicated to stop a data breach? Then engage an expert.
  4. Estimate the risk. How sensitive are the personal data that have been breached? Is it banking data, for example?
  5. Register the data breach in your data breach register. Don’t know how to set up this register? Then use these 10 tips for professional data breach registration.
  6. Implement new measures to prevent a future data breach.

Preventing a data breach with Zenya

Now that you know the consequences and risks of a data breach, you naturally want to prevent it as much as possible. Zenya helps you do just that. With our software, you have one central place to safely store all personal data. Convenient for your employees and safer for your organisation.

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