Ponemon Institute Calculates What a Data Breach Really Costs Per Attack; Highest Costs in the U.S.


Highest Costs in the U.S.If you own your own business — or work for a business that has suffered a data breach — the damaging effects of even one breach can be long-lasting, according to a new Ponemon Institute report. Companies that suffer a data breach are not only facing expensive direct costs from cleaning up a data breach, but also a loss in customer confidence that has long-lasting ramifications, the report says.

Negligence and system glitches together accounted for 64% of data breaches last year. These can include employees mishandling information, violations of industry and government regulations, inadvertent data dumps, stolen laptops, and wrongful access by hackers and other cyber-crooks.

The study analyzed almost 300 data breach cases (5,000-100,000 compromised records per attack) from nine countries — including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Australia, and Brazil. It found that there is a positive correlation between the number of records lost and the cost of an incident.

The study also found that malicious or criminal attacks cause 37% of data breaches and are the most costly incidents in all nine countries. U.S. and German companies experience the most expensive data-breach incidents caused by malicious or criminal attackers at $277 and $214 per compromised records, respectively, while Brazil and India had the least-costly data breach at $71 and $46 per record, respectively. German companies were also most likely to experience a malicious or criminal attack, followed by Australia and Japan.

You can also estimate what a data breach could cost your company at www.databreachcalculator.com. This is a free online tool from Symantec that calculates your risk based on your organization’s characteristics.


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.

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