Poor privacy practices increase the chances of a data breach

data breach

Companies with the worst privacy practices are 80 percent more likely to experience a data breach according to a new study.

Data privacy platform Osano used its evaluation framework to measure the privacy practices of the top 10,000 websites against 163 different factors to develop an Osano Privacy Score.


Evaluation criteria include if a company sells, shares or licenses data to third parties or affiliates, or if a company knowingly collects data about children under the age of 13. This allows Osano to establish a clear and simple benchmark for privacy performance. Companies in the top quartile earned an average Osano Privacy Score of 669, whereas companies in the bottom quartile scored 493 on average.

Among the findings are that companies in the lowest quartile of privacy scores lost 600 percent more records than companies with better privacy scores. The worst privacy actors are the least likely to be able to retrospectively identify the root cause of a breach too.

Of the organizations that get breached, governments have the worst scores. Educational and government websites are 15 times more likely to experience a breach than commercial sites.

"In the face of nonstop breaches and increased data security awareness, consumer and shareholder confidence in businesses is slowly eroding. Businesses that fail to protect sensitive data will face serious negative consequences, and the report proves just how these phenomena move hand-in-hand." says Osano co-founder and CEO, Arlo Gilbert. "There is a perception that privacy issues are akin to a speeding ticket -- a risk worth running. Companies that don't change their perception are facing higher odds of experiencing a data breach and losing the trust they've built with their customers."

The correlations between data breaches and Osano Privacy Scores arise from many causes including willful ignorance, oversight of privacy best practices that increase risk exposure, and company culture around responsible data stewardship. Use of third-parties is key too with the average company sharing its data with around 750 different vendors.

You can get the full report on the Osano site.

Photo Credit: elwynn/Shutterstock

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