The Ponemon Institute recently analyzed data breaches at 277 companies in nine countries. The resulting report indicates that over 37 percent of data security breaches are tied to malicious attacks, typically involving an external attacker or cyber criminal gaining access to corporate systems, thereby exposing sensitive data. The Institute also learned that the U.S. is the costliest country to have a data breach, with the total cost per data breach incident coming in at $5.4 million. Germany was the next costliest, estimated at $4.8 million per incident.
Data breach costs take many forms, including expenses necessary for data breach notification and costs to determine the scope of the breach. Additional costs are required for post incident activities like remediation, legal expenses and for offering identity protection services to affected customers. The aforementioned costs are in addition to any lost business resulting from the incident. The most expensive breach in the study cost a company $31 million to resolve, the least expensive still costing $750,000. Lost information can include confidential business information, personal information about customers, intellectual property including software source code and personal information about employees.
Dr. Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Institute, noted, “In the five years we have conducted this study, we have continued to see an increase in the cost to business for suffering a data breach. With a variety of threat vectors to contend with, companies must proactively implement policies and technologies that mitigate the risk of facing a costly breach”. Phillip Dunkelberger is the chairman and CEO of PGP Corporation, who sponsored the study. He adds, “As breaches are becoming all too commonplace, U.S businesses can’t afford to ignore protecting the valuable, sensitive data they have been entrusted with. Our study with the Ponemon Institute continues to demonstrate that companies whose data is not protected 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”.
According to the survey, data breaches resulting from malicious attacks and botnets are more costly and severe than other forms. With recent research from Trend Micro reporting that 91% of targeted attacks start with a spear-phishing email, it’s imperative businesses make informed choices around email security. Targeted attacks encourage the victim to open malicious attachments by attracting them with contextually relevant content. This content can take many forms, personal information obtained from social networking sites being a common lure.
It’s essential to understand the impact a fraudulent email resulting in data breach can have on your business and take the appropriate email security measures to prevent the occurrence. Our industry specific products are tailored to both protect your confidential data from breaches and to ensure you receive critical email messages. Learn more about our secure email solutions for healthcare, government, gaming, finance and legal.