Data Exposure

The unintended release of sensitive data due to security vulnerabilities or malicious actors. Data exposure can lead to serious privacy issues, as well as damage to a company’s reputation.

“What is Data Exposure?”

Data Exposure is the deliberate or accidental release of sensitive or confidential information. It can come from within an organization, or it can be the result of a malicious attack. Data exposure occurs when data is stored, transmitted, accessed, and/or shared in an unsafe manner that does not comply with accepted security standards.

Examples of data that is sensitive to exposure include:

    • Usernames and passwords
    • Financial information
    • Personal records
    • Social Security numbers
    • Medical records
    • Business details
    • Intellectual property
    • Trade secrets
    • Email communications
    • Browsing history data
    • Customer lists
    • Employee files


These are just common examples, there are plenty of more types of SaaS data that organizations prefer not to expose.

When organizations fail to properly secure their SaaS data, whether through negligence or simply a lack of resources, data exposure becomes a significant risk. Once unauthorized individuals outside the organization gain access to sensitive information, it is very hard to reverse, and can be very costly to clean up. It is therefore recommended that organizations act proactively in protecting their data and mitigating the risk of SaaS data exposure.

Common SaaS Data Exposure Causes:

The biggest threat with SaaS data is that it might leak out to users outside the organization. Common causes related to outside users accessing SaaS data include:

  • Files shared in SaaS apps not intended for managing files, such as Slack.
  • Unused SaaS files shared for over a year.
  • SaaS files shared as ‘Share with anyone’ and forgotten about.
  • Sensitive SaaS files that are shared with external users.