Security Experts:

One-Third of Data Breaches Led to People Losing Jobs: Kaspersky

Nearly one-third of data breaches suffered by companies around the world have resulted in someone losing their job, according to a study conducted earlier this year by Kaspersky Lab.

The cybersecurity firm has interviewed nearly 6,000 people across 29 countries for its annual Global Corporate IT Security Risks Survey. Respondents worked for companies of various sizes, including small businesses with less than 50 employees and major corporations with over 1,000 workers.

The study found that, globally, 31% of incidents led to employees being laid off. China was the country with the highest percentage of senior IT security staff being laid off as a result of a data breach. People holding a senior IT role lost their job in roughly one-third of cases, with similar percentages across the globe.

Kaspersky’s survey shows a significant difference in the chances of C-level executives and presidents losing their job over a data breach in various parts of the world. In North America, for instance, 32% of CEOs and other C-level managers were laid off following a data breach – this is the region where the C-suite is most likely to lose its job.

In other parts of the world, company leaders losing their job following a data breach is far less likely. In Russia, for example, the C-suite was only blamed in 7% of cases and in Japan the percentage is even lower at 5%.

Which employees are most likely to lose their job following a data breach in different parts of the world

Other non-financial consequences of a data breach – on a global level in enterprises – included additional security policies or requirements (38%), changing security vendors or service providers (35%), engaging with a breach notification services provider (33%), and changing authentication procedures for customers (29%).

North American businesses are the most affected by data breaches, with over 40% of respondents saying their organization had suffered at least one breach. Enterprises are more likely to get hit, compared to small and medium-sized businesses, and 68% of enterprises that suffered a data breach claimed to have suffered at least two incidents.

When it comes to compensations and fines after a breach, companies in China and the rest of the APAC region are most likely to pay compensation to clients or customers, but half of the companies from North America also reported doing the same. Companies in China, APAC and North America are also most likely to have problems with attracting new customers following a data breach, according to Kaspersky’s report.

“While a data breach is devastating to a business as a whole, it can also have a very personal impact on people’s lives — whether they are customers or failed employees – so this is a reminder that cybersecurity has real-life implications and is in fact everyone’s concern,” said Dmitry Aleshin, vice president of product marketing, Kaspersky Lab. “With data now traveling on devices and via the cloud, and with regulations like GDPR becoming enforceable, it’s vital that businesses pay even closer attention to their data protection strategies.”  

Related: Business-Critical Systems Increasingly Hit by Ransomware

Related: Compromised Credentials - The Primary Point of Attack for Data Breaches

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.