Human error causes most data breaches

Detail showing fleeing Persians (King Darius centre) from an AncA request to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that most data breaches are caused by human error.

Egress Software made the FOI request and the ICO revealed that only seven percent of breaches in the first three months of this year were because of technical glitches.

That means the fast majority were down to human error and carelessness by people.  And fines levied because of technical errors amounted to zero, while the ICO levied £5.1 million for companies that made the mistakes.

The data breaches are across many different sectors. The public sector showed healthcare organisations are top of the disgrace league, followed by local government and educational organisations.

The private sector also showed a rise in data breaches with the financial industry, the housing sector, telecoms and recruitment all showing big rises.

Tony Pepper, CEO of encryption company Egress Software, said: “It is concerning that such a high number of data breaches occur as a result of human error and poor processes. Confusion can often put confidential data at risk, with users unsure of when and how to encrypt.”