All companies worry about data breaches. When they happen, they can cause major business losses. But we know that sometimes, data breaches just happen. Mostly because of human error, but there are other reasons that we sometimes can’t predict.
Those things happen not only to small businesses – big guys also face the data breach disasters. Their stakes are high, so they need to make sure they survive. And surprisingly – they do (most of the time).
Here are 5 examples of big companies that survived data breaches and have come out even stronger on the other side:
In August 2016, Delta Airlines experienced a data center outage that caused the cancellation of over 2,000 flights. The outage was caused by a power failure that resulted in the loss of critical systems.\
Delta Airlines had a disaster recovery plan in place that allowed them to recover their systems within a few hours.
In February 2017, GitLab, a popular code hosting platform, suffered a data loss incident that resulted in the loss of over 300GB of data.
The incident occurred due to a human error in the backup process. One of the technicians accidentally deleted data from a production database.An overload on a GitLab database made it impossible to copy data to its backup system. The overload happened because a task was running to delete a GitLab employee and all of their data after being flagged for abuse by someone pretending to be a troll. The overload was worsened by a spam attack that was happening at the same time.
Unfortunately, some production data which couldn’t be restored. The breach affected roughly 5000 projects, 5000 comments and 700 new users.
No code repositories and wikis were affected during the outage, thanks to a LVM snapshot created 6 hours before the outage.
In 2013, Target suffered a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of customers. The cybercriminals stole up to 40 million customers’ credit and debit records. Along with that, the breach affected contact information for more than 60 million Target customers.
Even facing such massive challenge, Target handled the situation extremely well. They managed to notify their customers only 4 days after they noticed the data breach.
Upon recovering the stolen data, Target issued more secure chip-and-pin cards that allowed for more secure transaction process. The company executives promoted the new solution and encouraged consumers to protect themselves from data hacks.
Data breaches are happening more and more often. In 2022 alone, over 400 million people were potentially affected by a data threat.
To prepare for this kind of situation, having a disaster recovery plan is really important. The examples in this document show how such a plan can help organizations recover from a data breach.
For example, Delta Airlines was able to recover its systems quickly and minimize downtime and disruption to its operations thanks to its disaster recovery plan. Target handled the situation well by notifying customers and implementing more secure measures, which helped preserve their reputation and customer trust.
However, it's not enough to just have a disaster recovery plan. It's also important to constantly review and improve backup processes to prevent human errors that can happen during the recovery process. GitLab's experience is a warning in this regard. A human error during a backup process led to data loss and reputational damage. Organizations must not only have a disaster recovery plan but also keep refining their backup processes to make sure they can recover their data quickly and efficiently if there is a data breach.
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