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Risk

2/3/2009
11:46 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Data Breach Costs Climb Past $6.6 Million: Most Breaches Caused By Negligence

The business cost of a data breach is skyrocketing, according to a new study from Ponemon Institute and security firm PGP, with cost per breached company averaging $6.6 million. Most breaches are the result of insider negligence.

The business cost of a data breach is skyrocketing, according to a new study from Ponemon Institute and security firm PGP, with cost per breached company averaging $6.6 million. Most breaches are the result of insider negligence.Costs associated with data breaches are soaring, up almost 50% in the last couple of years, according to a new study just released by Ponemon and PGP. Per company costs as a consequence of a breach average $6.6 million, the study reports; costs are, of course, affected by the number of records breached.

Cost per compromised record has risen $202, up 2.5% in a year. Some of that is hard cost -- security repairs, legal fees, reparations -- but well over half of the $202 cost represents lost business.

Department of Duh: Customers tend to leave companies that have compromised their data.

According to the study of 43 data breaches and their effect on companies, a whopping 88% of the compromises were caused by negligence.

Negligence!

That's not exactly news, but it's no less comforting for being so sadly familiar. Sloppiness, incompetence, failure to follow policy (or to have a policy) can cost your business $202 per compromised record. Can you afford that? Not even in good times!

And it's an avoidable expense. Sponsor of the study PGP is in the encryption biz, so encryption is near the top of the recommendations list, but you already know that.

What's really at the top of the list is the fact that cost-per-breach is climbing high fast , and that 88% of the breaches studied were caused by avoidable errors.

Whatever business you're in, you're also clearly and permanently in the avoid security negligence business too.

The 2008 Cost of Data Breach Annual Study can be downloaded here. (Registration required.)

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