A recent report by a security analyst has revealed that over 878 million data records were compromised in January 2021, which is more than in the entire year of 2017.

40 billion data records predicted to be compromised in 2021

The report shows that the volume of data being stolen is increasing exponentially year on year with no sign of it stopping anytime soon.

The report, by Imperva finds that in 2017, 826.54 million data records were breached in 488 attacks. In 2018, the number of records increased to 2.34 billion; and in 2019, 12.3 billion records were breached.

Detailed figures show that the numbers of records breached and the number of attacks, correlate, and are accelerating.

75.9% of the stolen data was PII (Personally Identifiable Information)

The high percentage of stolen PII data shows quite clearly that businesses and organisations are not successful enough in securing these types of details, which are often swapped between systems and individuals. PII data is data that identifies an individual and includes details such as, name, age, location, gender, health and religion.

Credit card data accounted for only 9.2% of compromised information and indicates that this type of data is more effectively protected.

Why is the number of data breaches growing so fast?

There are a number of reasons why it is thought that data breaches are growing so rapidly in number, according to the report.

  • The 2020 rush to go digital

During the COVID pandemic, businesses advanced their digital offer in an effort to serve a suddenly online market, perhaps without the resource and capability to focus on their increased vulnerability in security.

  • More services are consumed online

Online activity within markets continues to grow, even without the pandemic; and that is the overriding trend, and therefore the implications for security continue to grow with this trend.

  • Information security has a slower adoption rate than digital

Although digital activity has a relatively fast adoption rate, the adoption of the information security to go with it is slower, with people and businesses willing to take the risk.

  • More businesses are migrating to the cloud – unsafely

There is a huge amount of data in the cloud, and more businesses continue to migrate their systems to cloud-based models. However, this is not always done safely, with the right level of attention paid to robust data security.

To know about data breaches is to be forearmed

While reports such as this can be frightening, they are invaluable for showing us where and how breaches happen, which means attention can be focused in the right places.

If we know the extent of the risk, we can apply resources more effectively.

More than ever, it is vital that businesses and organisations have strategies in place for the adoption, test and review of new systems, always with the right, expert level of attention paid to information and data security