Data fails and security breaches are a huge risk now for companies all over the world. To see the impact we just need to look at some of the most infamous examples from recent years.


A huge mistake by this online retailer led to real customer data being used to test out a new website. The issue came to light when some customers received strange text messages about online surveys.

The company had used up to 800,000 contact details in a way that was highly damaging to their reputation. Thankfully, no credit card data was used but lots of customers were left upset by having their details used in this way.


A huge problem hit TalkTalk when they had to try and work out how many of their customer records had been hacked.  At first, it was believed that up to 4 million customers could have been affected, although the eventual confirmed figure was a lot lower.

This was one of several times that hackers had breached cyber security at TalkTalk in the course of a year. The publicity around this attack brought the issue of online data breaches to the attention of the public in general.


Currently, the biggest data fails in history belong to Yahoo. It was in 2016 that they disclosed two massive security breaches, although they had both happened a few years earlier.

Their 2013 problem affected 1 billion user accounts, while a 2014 breach compromised around 500 million people. Apart from the numbers, the 2013 attack was also worse because hackers got access to information relating to the users.


While all customer data has to be protected and maintained, some information is more sensitive than others. Normally we think about bank accounts and credit cards as being among the most important data to look after but the FriendFinder data fail showed us another side to this matter.

The dating site was attacked in 2016 and user details soon made it online. The problem was made worse by the fact that the majority of the site’s passwords were poorly protected with weak passwords.

How to Avoid Joining this List

As we have seen from this list, data fails and security breaches can have terrible effects for the company and for the client. Therefore, protecting the client data has to be one of the top priorities in any business.

A smart way to get started is by using data cleansing software to get a clean and easily readable database. This makes it easier to maintain and cuts out the risk of duplicate customers or out of data information.

After this, a strong cyber security policy is needed, with robust controls and passwords that can’t be easily cracked. Poor staff training can also lead to problems in this respect. It is vital that all members of staff understand the importance of the data.

Get started on keeping your customer data safe and under control by giving our data matching software a try.


By Robert Bell | February 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Data Quality

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