The average cost of a data breach rose 15 percent last year to $3.5 million, according to a study published Monday.
The Ponemon Institute's ninth annual "Cost of Data Breach Study," which was sponsored by IBM, estimates that the average data breach across the globe costs victims about $145 per compromised record, 9 percent more than in 2012.
The most costly breaches occurred in the US and Germany at $201 and $195 per compromised record, respectively, the report says. The least expensive data breaches were in India and Brazil at $51 and $70.
Root causes of data breaches differ among countries. Countries in the Middle East and Germany had more data breaches caused by malicious or criminal attacks, Ponemon says. India had the most data breaches caused by a system glitch or business process failure. Human error was most often the cause in the UK and Brazil.
The most costly data breaches were those caused by malicious and criminal attacks, according to the report. The US and Germany paid the most for such attacks, at $246 and $215 per compromised record, respectively.
A strong security posture can help enterprises reduce the cost of a data breach, Ponemon says. On average, companies that self-reported they had a strong security posture also reported lower breach costs, reducing those costs by as much as $14 per record. The appointment of a chief security officer lowered the cost of a data breach by about $6 per record, the report says.
The greatest threats to the companies in the study are malicious code and sustained probes. Companies report an average of 17 malicious codes each month and 12 sustained probes each month, both up from 2012. Unauthorized access incidents are occurring at about the same pace as last year; companies report an average of 10 such incidents each month.