In today's digital world, the security of personal data is more important than ever. One Data protection breach can have significant consequences for companies and individuals. Therefore, every incident requires a quick and precise Data protection notification and an adequate Incident Response. Compliance with the GDPR (Privacy-Regulation), known in English as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), is of central importance for the Compliance of your company. The identification of a Security gap and the management of a Data Breach are complex challenges that require both specialist knowledge and swift action.

Important findings

  • Fast response and precise reporting are essential in a Data protection breach
  • Compliance with the GDPR minimizes the risk of Penalties and loss of reputation
  • An effective Incident Response Management can minimize the consequences of Data Breach reduce
  • The definition of a Security gap forms the basis for the Risk assessment
  • The correct procedure in the first 72 hours after a data protection incident is crucial
  • Risk-adequate responses protect the company and affected persons

Meaning and difference: Data protection breach vs. GDPR breach

In the modern information society Data protection violations can have far-reaching consequences and the importance of handling data protection incidents correctly should not be underestimated. However, not every data protection incident is the same. It is essential to recognize the difference between a Data protection breach and a DSGVO violation in order to be able to react appropriately in an emergency.

What characterizes a data breach

A Data protection breach occurs when a security breach results in personal data being compromised, for example through loss or unauthorized access, such as the loss of a USB stick. This is a specific type of data protection incident, which the Integrity and confidentiality of personal information.

The role of the GDPR in data protection breaches

The GDPR sets the legal framework for the Privacy in the EU and defines both reporting obligations and Data subject rights. It also regulates the response obligations that apply to various types of data breaches and requires organizations to take proactive measures to protect personal data.

A comparison of misdemeanors and criminal offenses

Data protection violations can include both misdemeanors and felonies. The severity of an offense under the GDPR decides what legal consequences are to be expected, from fines to criminal prosecution.

  • Data protection mishaps - often the result of human error or technical problems
  • Data breach - denotes a Security gapwhich is revealed by hacker attacks, for example
  • Response and reporting obligations - are based on the nature of the incident and the potential Risk assessment for those affected
Data protection breach Data protection breach
Personal data security breach Any violation of the provisions of the GDPR
Often results in a Data breach Includes both misdemeanors and criminal offenses
Notifiable if there is a risk for those affected Reportable depending on the risk and severity of the violation
For example, loss of data carriers For example, no Data Protection Officer despite obligation

Immediate measures in the event of a data breach

In the event of a Data protection breach is a Immediate reaction to minimize the associated risks and comply with legal obligations. The first actions after an incident can have a significant impact on the consequences for companies and those affected.

Initiate internal investigation

As soon as an incident is discovered, a Internal investigation be started. The aim is to identify the cause and fully understand the extent of the data protection incident. This includes:

  • The identification of data concerned
  • Clarification of the unauthorized access code
  • Review of security protocols and systems

Activate emergency plan

Parallel to the internal investigation, the activation of a Emergency plan of paramount importance. This plan should outline precise steps to deal with the incident, including:

  • Notification to the supervisory authorities
  • Communication with the persons concerned
  • Damage limitation measures
  • Documentation of the incident for later analysis

A structured process for data breaches is essential to maintain control and meet regulatory requirements.

Step Action Responsible
1 First determination of the Data protection breach IT security team
2 Classification of the severity of the Data protection breach Data Protection Officer
3 Notification of the management IT department
4 Communication with the supervisory authorities Legal department
5 Measures to contain the incident IT security team
6 Documentation and analysis of the data breach Data Protection Officer

The 72-hour rule and its significance for data protection notification

One of the central requirements of the GDPR is the so-called 72-hour rulewhich obliges companies to report data breaches immediately must be reported. This regulation ensures that protective measures can be initiated quickly and those affected can be notified. But what exactly does this regulation mean for companies and how can they GDPR compliance guarantee?

The rule stipulates that the Notification to supervisory authorities must take place within a maximum of 72 hours of becoming aware of the personal data breach. Only this rapid response time makes it possible to efficiently counteract the consequences of such a data breach and limit the damage to the data subjects.

Why is this deadline so important?

  • The 72-hour rule ensures that supervisory authorities are informed promptly and that any negative consequences for those affected can be minimized.
  • A quick Data protection notification signals to regulatory authorities and customers that the company takes responsibility and takes active data protection measures seriously.
  • By complying with legal deadlines, the company avoids potential Penalties and thus protects itself from financial losses and loss of reputation.

However, late notification can have serious consequences, ranging from fines to loss of trust among customers and partners. It is therefore of the utmost importance to create appropriate processes and structures within the company that enable rapid action to be taken following a data breach.

The effective implementation of the 72-hour rule is a clear indicator of the seriousness with which companies Privacy and GDPR compliance treat.

The news of a data breach is never a pleasant thing, but a timely and accurate Data protection notification is a crucial part of risk management and consumer protection. This is the only way to maintain public trust in cyber security and data protection.

In summary, the 72-hour rule a central role in order to GDPR compliance and provide a high level of data protection. All companies that work with personal data must be aware of this rule and implement appropriate internal processes in order to comply with the reporting deadline.

Involvement of the data protection officer

The role of the Data Protection Officer in the handling of data breaches is essential for the protection of data privacy. Compliance with the GDPR. These professionals guide companies through the process of responding to data protection incidents in a timely and proper manner. Their expertise is not only required by law, but is also a practical advantage when dealing with complex data protection issues.

When and how to contact the data protection officer

The Contacting of the Data Protection Officer should be made immediately after the discovery of a possible data protection incident. Quick action is crucial in order to minimize potential damage and not miss the legal reporting deadlines. The data protection officer should be informed of as much information as possible about the incident in order to be able to carry out a well-founded risk analysis.

Tasks of the data protection officer in the event of data breaches

With the Processing of data breaches the data protection officer has a variety of Tasks. From the initial risk assessment to reporting to the supervisory authorities and informing the data subjects - all of these steps require specialist knowledge and experience. The data protection officer acts as a central point of contact within the company and coordinates the necessary responses in the event of a data protection incident.

Area of responsibility Specific tasks
Initial assessment Assessment of the incident and the data concerned
Risk analysis Assessment of the impact on affected persons and the company
Communication Notification to supervisory authorities and information for those affected
Documentation Record of the incident and the measures taken
Consulting Supporting the management and specialist departments

The early and appropriate involvement of the data protection officer is therefore not only a legal requirement, but also an essential part of risk management and the security culture in a company.

Risk assessment of a data breach

The prudent Risk assessment after the occurrence of a Data protection breach is decisive for the next steps in dealing with the incident. It is important to precisely determine and document the risk for both the persons affected and the company.

First steps towards risk assessment

The Risk assessment consists of the identification of the damage, its probability of occurrence and the assessment of its severity. This first phase is fundamental to the decision as to whether and to what extent the data breach must be reported.

Risk matrix as a decision-making aid

An essential tool for visualizing the Risk assessment presents the Risk matrix represent. It helps to make the risk assessment systematic and comprehensible. The matrix makes it possible to assess the urgency and extent of the measures taken.

Extent of damage Low Medium High
Probability Low Medium High
Low risk X
Medium risk X
High risk X

Internal company communication and handling of the data breach

Ensuring data security and the protection of personal data are fundamental aspects of corporate governance in the digital era. The internal communication plays a decisive role here, because an efficient Handling data breachesProcedures in the event of a data breach

Importance of open communication in the company

A clear and open internal communication policy is crucial in order to be able to respond appropriately to data breaches. Knowledge of the correct recording and reporting of data breaches should be widespread throughout the company to ensure that action is taken quickly and in accordance with the law.

Training and prevention measures as a long-term strategy

Beyond the emergency Regular training courses and well thought out Preventive measures is crucial for a risk-aware working environment. Through continuous training, a deep understanding of data protection can be realized, which is the basis for effective risk management.

  • Preparation of annual training plans
  • Establishment of an eLearning portal for data protection
  • Integration of data protection topics in the employee app

Such measures not only provide the team with the necessary knowledge, but also strengthen their sense of responsibility for the secure handling of personal data.

Training module Thematic focus Target group
Basics of data protection GDPR overview, rights of data subjects All employees
Dealing with data breaches Reporting procedure, communication channels Data protection officer, IT department
Data security in everyday life Data security practices, prevention Employees with data access

Through the combination of targeted communication, ongoing Trainings and well thought out Preventive measures is the key to long-term successful data protection management in the company.

Legal consequences of a data breach

If you look at the current developments in data protection law, the legal consequences for violations of GDPR-regulations come into play. Companies are the focus of intensive audits with regard to compliance with data protection regulations, where in particular Data protection violations serious Penalties may result.

Penalties and fines for non-compliance with the GDPR

The financial impact of non-compliance with GDPR-regulations are considerable and can be Penalties and fines which can result in up to 20 million euros or 4 % of global annual sales of the company concerned. This risk should motivate every data processing company to strictly adhere to data protection standards.

Intangible damages and their assertion

In addition to financial sanctions immaterial damages should not be underestimated, which are becoming increasingly important and can be asserted. The protection of personal data is not just a question of Compliancebut also expresses appreciation for private individuals and their privacy.

New legal situation following recent rulings

The Current legal situation shows that the latest court rulings, such as that of the Düsseldorf Labor Courtthe possibility of claiming non-material damages, which adds a new dimension to the legal consequences entails. Such decisions make it clear that companies not only have to deal with direct Penalties or Finesbut also with claims for damages for immaterial damages can be confronted with.

The correct assessment and response to data breaches is now more important than ever in order to protect both the integrity of companies and the rights of those affected.

Insight into practice: examples of data breaches

Data protection incidents can have various causes and require companies to respond to scenarios such as Hacking, Data theft, Data loss and Unauthorized data disclosure to be prepared. The following Practical examples illustrate the diversity and complexity of these challenges.

External attacks: hacking and data theft

External attacks on companies' IT security are a constant risk. Striking examples are Hacking-attacks in which cyber criminals exploit vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and make some of it public or misuse it for ransom demands. Such Data theft-Such cases not only lead to direct financial losses, but also to a loss of trust among customers and business partners.

Internal errors: data loss and unauthorized data transfer

Internal errors can also cause Data protection breach have as a consequence. A typical example is the Data loss through the loss of data carriers, for example because an employee forgets a laptop on public transport. Just as critical is the Unauthorized data disclosure within the company. One wrong click is all it takes for confidential data to be sent to unauthorized recipients via email.

It is clear that effective safety precautions and prudent response management are essential for protecting against and dealing with Data protection violations are indispensable.

The following is an overview of common data protection incidents that can affect companies in various industries:

Nature of the incident Description Possible consequences
Hacking Attacks on the IT system to steal or manipulate data Financial damage, loss of reputation, Legal consequences
Data theft Theft of sensitive data by external or internal perpetrators Data breach, loss of trade secrets
Data loss Loss of data carriers or unintentional deletion of data Loss of information, obstruction of business activities
Unauthorized data disclosure Sharing information without authorization or accidental sending Risk of data misuse, negative impact on data subjects

Acting proactively with a data protection management system

In order to meet the diverse requirements of data protection, the implementation of a data protection management system (DSMS) is a decisive step. This system helps companies not only to comply with data protection regulations, but also to prevent data breaches and promote a culture of data security.

Implementation and monitoring of a DSMS

A DSMS forms the foundation for a structured data protection process within the company. Clear guidelines, responsibilities and processes create a framework that helps to identify, assess and minimize data protection risks. Regular reviews and updates of the DSMS ensure that new legal requirements or technological developments are integrated promptly.

How DATUREX GmbH can provide support

The Daturex GmbH is a specialist in imparting specialist knowledge in the field of data protection. With a targeted range of training courses on the implementation of a DSMS, it makes an essential contribution to promoting data protection skills in companies. The courses on offer cover a broad spectrum - from the basics of data protection to specialized training for data protection officers.

In addition, the  Daturex GmbH The data protection officer provides important resources to help communicate the need for data protection and raise awareness of the importance of an effective DSMS. This enables companies to firmly anchor the topic of data protection in their organization and represent it credibly to customers and partners.

Element of the DSMS Objective Support offered by the Proliance Academy
Risk analysis Recording and evaluation of data protection risks Trainings on risk management in data protection
Documentation Transparent and comprehensible documentation of data protection processes Training courses on efficient data protection documentation
Employee training Raising employee awareness of data protection issues eLearning offerings and interactive workshops
Emergency management Development of an emergency plan for data protection incidents Webinars and advice on data protection incident response
Continuous improvement Regular update and adaptation of the DSMS to new requirements Continuous further training on data protection law

The  Daturex GmbH proves to be an indispensable partner for companies looking for a Data protection management system and want to firmly integrate data protection expertise into their corporate strategy. With its practice-oriented approach, it makes it possible to view and implement data protection not only as a legal obligation, but also as a valuable asset for day-to-day business.


Awareness of Data protection violations has established itself as an indispensable part of corporate responsibility in the age of digital transformation. It is clear that a proactive and Risk-conscious action is essential to meet the requirements of the GDPR compliance to do justice. Companies that have an efficient response strategy in the event of a data protection incident - consisting of a clear Emergency planan immediate Risk assessment and transparent internal communication - can not only limit the negative effects of a data breach, but also strengthen the trust of their customers and business partners.

The involvement of a trained data protection officer is a pillar of every company's data protection concept that should not be underestimated. The ongoing training of employees is also an important factor in preventing data protection violations and ensuring that a company's data protection policy is complied with. Risk-conscious action in the day-to-day running of the company. This contributes significantly to safeguarding the GDPR compliance and the prudent handling of personal data.

Ultimately, the quality and timeliness of the data protection strategy determines the extent of the corporate responsibility and resilience to data protection risks. A company that continuously optimizes its data protection management system and monitors legal developments is ideally positioned to meet the challenges of the information society and present itself as a trustworthy partner. This makes it possible to act in the complex terrain of data protection in a targeted, sustainable and legally compliant manner.


What is a data breach and how does it differ from a GDPR breach?

A data breach refers to a security incident in which personal data has been unlawfully disclosed, lost, altered or accessed without authorization. A GDPR breach, on the other hand, is a broader category and includes any non-compliance with the GDPR, which may also include administrative offenses or criminal offenses.

What should be done immediately after a data breach is detected?

Immediately after a data breach has been detected, a Internal investigation to determine the causes and the Emergency plan be activated in order to manage the incident adequately.

What does the 72-hour rule mean in the context of the GDPR?

The 72-hour rule requires companies under the GDPR to report a data breach to the competent supervisory authorities within 72 hours of discovering it if it poses a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons.

In which case and how should the data protection officer be contacted in the event of a data breach?

The Data Protection Officer should be contacted immediately after becoming aware of a data breach in order to analyze the situation in which Risk assessment and to support the communication process with the supervisory authorities and affected parties.

How do you carry out a risk assessment after a data breach?

The risk assessment includes identifying potential damage, estimating the probability of occurrence and assessing the severity of the damage. Risk matrices can help to decide whether a data breach notification is necessary.

Why is internal communication so important in the event of a data breach?

An effective internal communication ensures that all employees are informed of the correct procedure and helps to manage the incident in a coordinated manner and in accordance with the defined processes.

What legal consequences can result from a data breach?

Companies can be fined for non-compliance with the GDPR regulations Penalties and Fines of up to 20 million euros or 4 % of global annual turnover. In addition, those affected can immaterial damages which can be asserted by Current judgments is underpinned.

What types of data breaches are there?

Data breaches can occur externally through Hacking and Data theft or internally due to errors such as the loss of data carriers or the inadvertent sending of sensitive information by e-mail.

How can a data protection management system (DMS) help prevent data breaches?

A DSMS helps to continuously improve data protection processes, identify risks and take preventive measures. Trainingssuch as those offered by the Proliance Academy help companies to implement an efficient DSMS and promote data protection expertise.

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