Latest figures from the Information Commissioners Office show that reports of personal data breaches dropped 20 per cent in the most recent financial year.
Reports fell from 11,854 in the 2019/20 financial year to 9,532 in the most recent financial year, according to the ICO’s annual report published last week.
The report cited the pandemic as the primary reason for the drop, while also claiming that the introduction of mandatory breach reporting in sectors that handle large volumes of personal data was a contributor to the downward trend.
“Whilst the ICO have reported a surprising decline in personal data breach incidents this year, business owners and workers must not get complacent,” Chris Ross, SVP sales international for Barracuda Networks said.
“Despite what the figures suggest, cyber-attacks targeting remote workers and businesses have increased in intensity over the last 18 months.
“This is particularly because more employees were working from home for the first time, and thus more sensitive data has been handled across email, cloud storage and personal devices than ever before, presenting a gold mine of opportunity for hackers.”
The healthcare industry reported the highest number of data breaches, making up 16.8 per cent of those reported to the ICO in FY 20/21.
Education and childcare came second, reporting 1,160 personal data breach incidents over the last year, which is 13.6 per cent of the total quantity.
Just 0.1 per cent of all personal data breach cases reported led to formal action, which includes administrative punishment or a lower tier fine, being taken, with 71.4 per cent of all personal data breaches reported to the ICO not leading to any further action.
21.6 per cent were investigated further, while the report also revealed that 3.9 per cent of personal data breaches led to informal action being taken.