42% of IT leaders told to keep data breaches confidential
Data breaches can seriously threaten businesses, resulting in significant financial losses, legal ramifications, and reputational damage. In case of such incidents, organizations must act immediately and transparently to minimize the damage to their customers and stakeholders.
According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 42% of IT leaders have been told to keep a data breach confidential. Furthermore, more than half of businesses admitted to experiencing a data breach in the last 12 months.
The data is based on the Bitdefender 2023 Cybersecurity Assessment. The research surveyed 400 IT professionals from various industry sectors who work in organizations with 1,000+ employees in the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
Nearly 30% of IT professionals had kept data breach a secret when they knew it should be reported. While these people should know better, they decided to side with the hackers and keep their crimes silent. In addition, customers whose information was stolen are also unaware that their data are in criminals’ hands.
When looking at the results by country, US businesses were the least responsible when dealing with data breaches. Over 70% of IT leaders were told to keep a data breach confidential, while 55% kept data theft a secret when they knew it should be reported.
Companies in Germany were the most responsible when dealing with data breaches. Of the IT leaders surveyed, 35% were advised to maintain confidentiality regarding a data breach, but only 15% kept it quiet. Furthermore, 54% neither were told nor kept a breach confidential.
In UK businesses, 44% of IT professionals were suggested to stay silent about a data breach, and 36% did. About 1 out of 4 IT managers did not receive such advice nor stayed quiet about a data breach.
French IT leaders were the least likely to be told to keep a data breach confidential, as only a quarter encountered such an experience. Meanwhile, 37% of IT managers working for companies in Italy were advised to stay quiet about a data breach. The same was recommended to 35% of professionals in Spain.
US businesses in trouble
Data breaches have become increasingly common in the corporate world, with devastating consequences, as the staggering statistics reflect. To stay ahead in the face of technological advancements, businesses must recognize the gravity of the situation and adjust their security measures accordingly.
Overall 52% of companies have experienced a data breach in the last 12 months. However, when we take a closer look at country statistics, one of them stands out among the others.
About 3 out of 4 IT leaders in the US admitted that their company suffered a data breach in the last 12 months. This statistic seems even worse when combined with the fact that 55% of professionals stayed silent about data breaches. In the US, if the data breach affects more than 500 people, it is legally required to report it in 10 business days.
Meanwhile, 51% of businesses in the UK experienced a data breach in the last year. IT leaders working in Germany and Italy disclosed that nearly 50% of their businesses suffered a data incident. Data breaches also affected 44% of companies in Spain, while French businesses were the least likely to suffer such incidents, with only 42% experiencing data thefts.
It is interesting to note that most companies that asked their IT professionals not to disclose information about a data breach are from HR and legal industries. In addition, 59% of IT leaders have to work on weekends due to security concerns their businesses face.
In an age where data breaches have become a grim reality, such practice undermines the fundamental principles of transparency, accountability, and proactive risk mitigation. Organizations must recognize that concealing data breaches erodes customers' trust and hinders the collective effort required to combat cyber threats.