Assessing the Costs of Data Breaches
How much will a data breach cost your company? A lot, according to the Ponemon Institute and Symantec Corp., which surveyed 51 companies from 15 industry sectors around the country. The 2010 Annual Study: U.S. Cost of a Data Breach puts the price of security leakage at $7.2 million, or $214 per compromised record, a jump of $10 per record over 2009. And the more records a company loses, the more it costs. Negligence, lost devices and human error are still the most common causes of data breaches, but criminal breaches cause bigger financial hits. “Some of our most serious data breach events occur with smaller data sets but the information is really sensitive and confidential,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, of the Ponemon Institute. And the industry you’re in can determine whether a breach will hurt your reputation and your bottom line. “There’s an expectation of greater security and greater information stewardship when the organization is heavily regulated, and financial services and healthcare are at the top of that,” he said.