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6 Tips to Prevent Accidental Data Exposure Within Your Company

The threat of data exposure is real. With the amount of sensitive personal information that companies are collecting and storing, accidental data exposure can be devastating to a company's reputation. Here are some ways to keep your organization's critical data safe.


Do you or your business have the proper measures in place to protect your clients' information? In today's world, a great deal of responsibility falls upon you and your company to ensure that no data is compromised.

Accidental data exposure happens when a company or employee makes data available to users that should not have access. This can mean accidentally sharing company data on social media or sending important information to the wrong party.

There are many ways accidental data exposure can happen in your business, so it's important to understand them so you can prevent it.

What Are Accidental Data Leaks And How Do They Happen?

Accidental data leaks happen when a company or organization inadvertently shares sensitive information that should have been kept private. This can happen when, for example, a company employee accidentally emails a client's confidential information to the wrong person.

Accidental data leaks are a serious concern because they can expose consumers to identity theft and other forms of fraud. They may also cause a loss of trust between customers and businesses.

Data leaks can occur through four major categories:

1. Customer information

Some of the biggest data breaches involved leaks of personally identifiable information (PII). Customer data is unique to each company and often includes any or all of the following:

  • customer names
  • customer addresses
  • phone numbers
  • email addresses
  • login credentials (usernames and passwords)
  • social security numbers (SSNs)
  • payment histories
  • product browsing habits
  • medical information
  • financial records
  • IP address
  • Geo-location
  • credit card numbers


2. Company information

Internal data leaks expose the sensitive corporate activity. Such leaks are often targeted by unscrupulous businesses seeking information on their competitors' marketing plans. Company data leaks can include internal communications, performance metrics, and marketing strategies.

3. Trade secrets

Data theft can be an even greater threat to a business than financial or physical loss. Intellectual property theft can destroy a company's potential, causing it to collapse. Leakage of trade secret information can involve releasing upcoming product plans, proprietary technology information, and software coding.

4. Analytics

Analytics dashboards rely on large data sets, and cyber criminals are drawn to any pool of information that is large enough to be helpful. As a result, analytics software is an attack vector that needs to be monitored. Analytics data leaks can include customer behavior data, psychographic data, and modeled data.

How You Can Prevent Data Leaks From Happening?

A data leak can occur when a company's software or hardware is not configured correctly. Such leaks may also result from social engineering, recycled or weak passwords, or the physical theft of sensitive devices. A software vulnerability, a code flaw that enables someone to bypass security measures, can also contribute to a data leak.

Here are six data security practices that will help to prevent data leaks and minimize the chances of a data breach:

1. Conduct an IT security assessment

Review your organization's confidential data and security practices. From the results of your review, make changes to your access control policies and adopt a zero trust policy for devices connected to your network.

Third-party vendor risk assessments are a common method of ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR. A risk questionnaire could be created by compiling relevant questions from existing frameworks or, ideally, sent by a third-party attack surface monitoring solution.

2. Educate your employees

Data breaches often occur because employees fall for a phishing scam or some other type of fraud. Using specific examples will help your team learn how to handle these types of threats. By implementing a mandatory cybersecurity training program, you can educate all levels of staff on phishing, social engineering, and other types of threats.

Organizations need to invest in training their staff members to recognize the trickery of cyber attackers, particularly email phishing and social engineering attacks. Education is an essential part of any data leakage prevention strategy.

3. Identify all sensitive data

Organizations should consider implementing Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies to enhance their data leak prevention measures. Before DLP policies can be initiated, the business must identify and prevent sensitive data exposure that needs to be secured. This data needs to be correctly classified in line with strict security policies.

Data loss prevention refers to any set of strategies and technologies designed to protect sensitive data. Data leak prevention is a core component of such a strategy. An effective data loss prevention system combines processes and technology in order to ensure that any sensitive data will be safeguarded from loss, misuse, or exposure to unauthorized parties.

4. Secure all endpoints

An endpoint is any remote access device that communicates with a business network. That includes Internet of Things (IoT) devices, desktop computers, and mobile devices. To protect your company's intellectual property and trade secrets, don't email sensitive documents. Instead, set up a secure email solution or database portal to store and retrieve documents.

5. Evaluate all permissions

There is a high-risk unauthorized users could access your confidential data. As a first response, you should evaluate all permissions to ensure access is being granted only to authorized parties.

Once the sensitivity of the data has been verified, it should be categorized into different levels of sensitivity to control access to different data pools. Only trustworthy staff with essential requirements should have access to highly sensitive data.

6. Regular data backups

Ensure that you have a well-formulated plan to keep your data safe. You should verify all backups regularly and ensure that they are secure in case of a cyberattack or other data loss event.


By using the recommendations we have outlined above, you can help prevent any accidental data breach within your company. These suggestions are meant to help you out in the unlikely event that a hacker decides to target your network or your employees.


Govind Malviya

Written by Govind Malviya

Director of Product Development @ LoginRadius. Technology lover, likes reading/writing, and creating new things.

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