Exploring GDPR Breaches: Types, Impact, and Prevention 

GDPR Certification programs are designed to equip professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to comply with GDPR requirements and ensure individuals’ personal data privacy. These certifications are recognised globally and are valuable to professionals who work with personal data, such as data protection officers, compliance professionals, and security professionals. The certification process involves training, examination, and ongoing professional development to ensure that certified professionals stay up-to-date with the latest GDPR requirements and best practices. This page will review the history of this certification, including What is GDPR Breaches, the knowledge domains covered by the certification test, and current exam information.  

Table of contents 

  • Types of GDPR breaches
  • Unauthorised access
  • Unintended disclosure
  • Loss or theft of personal data
  • Failure to notify a breach
  • Impact of GDPR breaches
  • Financial impact
  • Reputational damage
  • Legal consequences
  • Prevention of GDPR breaches
  • Data protection impact assessments
  • Implementing appropriate technical and organisational measures
  • Employee training and awareness
  • Incident response planning
  • Conclusion

Types of GDPR breaches 

  1. Unauthorised access: This type of breach occurs when an individual or organisation gains access to personal data without authorisation. This can happen through hacking, social engineering, or insider threats.
  • Unintended disclosure: This type of breach occurs when personal data is accidentally disclosed to unauthorised individuals or organisations. This can happen through email errors, misdirected mail, or other accidental disclosures.
  • Loss or theft of personal data: This type of breach occurs when personal data is lost or stolen, physically or digitally. This can happen through lost or stolen laptops, USB drives, or other personal data devices.
  • Failure to notify a breach: This type of breach occurs when an organisation fails to notify individuals and the appropriate authorities on time after a breach has occurred. This can result in further harm to individuals and can lead to legal consequences for the organisation.

Impact of GDPR breaches 

The impact of GDPR breaches can be significant for organisations regarding financial costs and reputational damage. Here are some of the key impacts of GDPR breaches:

  1. Financial impact: GDPR breaches can result in significant financial costs for organisations. Fines for non-compliance with the regulation can be as high as 4% of an organisation’s global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater. In addition to fines, organisations may face legal costs associated with defending against lawsuits from affected individuals or regulators. They may also need to invest in new security measures and technologies to prevent future breaches.
  • Reputational damage: GDPR breaches can damage an organisation’s reputation and erode customer trust. A breach can lead to negative media coverage and social media backlash, which can spread quickly and damage an organisation’s brand. Customers may lose confidence in an organisation’s ability to protect their data and hesitate to do business with them.
  • Legal consequences: GDPR breaches can have legal consequences for organisations, including lawsuits from affected individuals and regulatory investigations. In addition to fines, organisations may be required to take corrective action to address the breach and prevent future incidents. The GDPR also allows affected individuals to seek compensation for damages resulting from a breach, which can further increase the financial impact on organisations.

Prevention of GDPR breaches 

To prevent GDPR breaches, organisations need to take a proactive approach to data protection and security. Here are some key steps that organisations can take to prevent GDPR breaches:

  1. Conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs): DPIAs are a critical tool for identifying and mitigating potential risks to personal data. Organisations should conduct DPIAs before implementing new systems or processes that involve the processing of personal data. DPIAs involve a systematic analysis of the potential impact of a project or process on the privacy of individuals, and they help organisations identify and address risks before they become a problem.
  • Implement appropriate technical and organisational measures: Organisations must implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data from unauthorised access, theft, loss, or damage. Organisations should also establish policies and procedures for data protection and security, including incident response procedures and protocols.
  • Employee training and awareness: Human error is among the most common causes of GDPR breaches. To prevent breaches, organisations should invest in employee training and awareness programs. Employees should be trained on data protection and security policies, procedures, and best practices. They should also be made aware of the consequences of GDPR breaches and the importance of protecting personal data.
  • Incident response planning: Incident response planning is critical to ensuring that breaches are identified and responded to quickly and effectively. Organisations should establish an incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a breach, including who to contact, what information to collect, and how to notify affected individuals and regulators.


In conclusion, GDPR certification provides individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills necessary to comply with the GDPR and protect personal data. It equips professionals with the expertise to prevent GDPR breaches and mitigate the impact of breaches that do occur. Overall, GDPR certification is valuable for anyone working with personal data and seeking to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

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