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Posted Jun 2nd, 2015

Average Cost of Data Breach $6.5 million

A recent article on DC Inno summarizes the Ponemon Institute’s latest study and report on data breaches in the United States. The study focuses on attacks where less than 100,000 records were stolen, meaning that major recent breaches like those related to Sony, Target and Home Deport are not included.

The average cost damages resulting from data breaches in the United States are up by $600,000 and now reach $6.5 million. That means that each stolen or lost record that holds confidential data increased from $201 to $217. Regulated industries such as finance, communication, healthcare, technology, pharmaceutical, and education were found to have a substantially higher cost than the $217 per lost record.

Cost of data breach over 10 years graph

Credit: Data + Graphic courtesy of Ponemon Institute

The Ponemon report breaks data breaches to three main incidents:

  • 49% are due to malicious or criminal attack
  • 32% due to process failures and/or system glitches
  • 19% due to human error (negligent employees)

What can your organization due to protect itself from the risks and high costs associated with data breaches? Obviously, no company or government agency is completely immune to a potential data breach, but there are some important steps to take to minimize risk:

  • Encrypt data
  • At IT assets’ end-of-life, shred hard drives and other data-containing equipment such as smart phones
  • Have a well thought out incidence response plan in place
  • Use scanning technology to monitor your network for vulnerabilities
  • Provide periodic security awareness training for staff

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