Specialty insurer Beazley has identified the most common source of data breaches, and they’re not all in the cyber world. Most come from misdirected emails and faxes and the loss of paper records, the U.K.-based company concluded.

That said, data breaches relating to cyber violations such as malware or spyware are on the rise, Beazley noted in an announcement of its analysis on the issue.

“With more information being stored electronically and in the cloud, the risk of data breaches is growing,” Katherine Keefe, head of Beazley Breach Response Services, said in a statement. “Consumers expect their privacy will be protected, and a data breach can have serious reputational and financial impact.”

Beazley’s data breach conclusions stem from an analysis of more than 1,500 incidents from Jan. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014. (The company announced details at the International Association of Privacy Professionals “Privacy Academy and CSA Congress.”)

Beazley’s major findings:

  • Misdirected emails and faxes caused 31 percent of breaches. Physical loss of paper records led to 24 percent of data breaches. Both are known as “unintended disclosure.”
  • While malware or spyware-related computer data breaches produced 11 percent of breaches in 2013 and 2014, the number grew by 20 percent over that time period. As well, these data violations cost 4.5 times more than unintended disclosure, the biggest loss category. That’s because of the costly process of figuring out how the breach occurred in the first place.
The cause of data breaches from 2013 through 2014. Source: Beazley Group. (Click to enlarge.)

Beazley said it has handled more than 14 million data breaches to date, and counting.

Beazley’s Breach Response Services is part of Beazley plc., the parent company of a number of specialist insurance businesses with operations in Europe, the U.S., Asia and Australia. The company also manages five Lloyd’s syndicates. In 2013, it underwrote $1.97 billion of gross premiums globally, it said.

Source: Beazley Group.