Data Breach Costs: you’ve read about them in the news, and maybe if you’re lucky, your information hasn’t been compromised in one of the big attacks that has made headlines over the last few years. Those big data breaches aren’t the only ones that cost millions in damages, however. On their blog, Securis summarizes recent Poneman Institute data about the true data breach cost:
“The average cost damages resulting from data breaches in the United States are up by $600,000 and now reach $6.5 million. That means that each stolen or lost record that holds confidential data increased from $201 to $217. Regulated industries such as finance, communication, healthcare, technology, pharmaceutical, and education were found to have a substantially higher cost than the $217 per lost record.”
Those are scary statistics: we’re paying more to clean up data breaches than ever before–all while they become more common every year.
The Monetary Data Breach Cost
As you can see by the numbers we’re working with, a data breach isn’t cheap. Big and small companies alike must do damage control, spending about $217 per record to clean up a breach. Depending on the business, that can be a devastating hit, and without preparing for the worst, most companies aren’t expecting to be targets.
Small businesses are easy targets for data thieves, as many of these businesses don’t take security seriously, mistakenly assuming they’re too small to bother with.
While small businesses might end up paying for an unexpected data breach, the biggest industry for data theft is healthcare–a type of breach that can be most damaging to businesses, due to the regulations surrounding healthcare records. Healthcare-related breaches are the most expensive breaches to clean up.
Other Data Breach Costs
While paying out cold, hard cash in the aftermath of a data breach, this isn’t the only cost associated with the crisis. Businesses also suffer a hit to the trust and reputation they have built up with clients and customers. Depending on the context, this can be even worse than simply paying for damages.
Preventing a Data Breach
- Invest in cyber security and ensure you are not an easy target
- Train your employees in basic data security, dos and don’ts
- Implement a data breach response plan
- Thoroughly wipe your old equipment before resale or recycling
End-of Life Data Destruction
Many businesses underestimate the importance of destroying the data on outdated or broken IT equipment before it’s re-sold or recycled, but this is an important step to take in preventing a data breach.
Methods like using data sanitization software, magnetic wiping, and physical shredding are all effective ways to remove sensitive data from equipment. However, most companies can’t complete this process on their own, and need to work with a certified recycler.
IT asset disposition (ITAD) companies can handle all aspects of equipment pickup, data destruction, and environmentally-conscious recycling to give you peace of mind.
The effects of a data breach can be widespread. Have you or your business ever been affected by cyber crimes? Let us know in the comments!
Susannah Bruck is a freelance blogger, editor, and ghostwriter. She has been putting her skills to use for clients since 2010, and enjoys working on formats ranging from blog posts to short stories and plays. You can find her at Word Adventures