Lessons Learned From 11 Years of Cost of Data Breach Research

Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Cost of Data Breach report in partnership with IBM Security. Every year, we report on the findings from our survey of organizations worldwide — this year in 383 companies across 16 industries and in 12 different countries.

In the global report published today, you will learn how our study quantifies the economic impacts of data breaches and observes cost trends over time. Our goal in this annual research is to help people understand the costs associated with data breach incidents.

Seven Data Breach Lessons

Over the many years of studying the data breach experiences of more than 2,000 organizations, the research has revealed the following seven megatrends:

  1. Data breaches are now a consistent cost of doing business in the cybercrime era. The evidence showed that this is a permanent risk organizations need to be prepared to deal with. It needs to be incorporated into data protection strategies.
  2. The biggest financial consequence to organizations that experienced a data breach is lost business. Following a breach, enterprises need to take steps to retain customers’ trust to reduce the long-term financial impact.
  3. Most data breaches continue to be caused by criminal and malicious attacks. These breaches also take the most time to detect and contain. As a result, they have the highest cost per record.
  4. Organizations recognize that the longer it takes to detect and contain a data breach, the more costly it becomes to resolve. Over the years, detection and escalation costs in our research have increased. This suggests investments are being made in technologies and in-house expertise to reduce the time to detect and contain a threat.
  5. Highly regulated industries such as health care and financial services have the most costly data breaches because of fines and the higher-than-average rate of lost business and customers.
  6. Improvements in data governance initiatives will reduce the cost of data breach. Incident response plans, the appointment of a CISO, employee training and awareness programs and a business continuity management strategy result in cost savings.
  7. Investments in certain data loss prevention controls and activities such as encryption and endpoint security solutions are important for preventing data breaches. This year’s study revealed a reduction in cost when companies participated in threat sharing activities and deployed data loss prevention technologies.

Download the Ponemon Institute 2016 Global Cost of a Data Breach Study

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Larry Ponemon

Chairman and Founder, Ponemon Institute

Dr. Larry Ponemon is the Chairman and Founder of the Ponemon Institute, a research think tank dedicated to advancing privacy and data protection practices. Dr. Ponemon is considered a pioneer in privacy auditing and the Responsible Information Management or RIM framework. Ponemon Institute conducts independent research, educates leaders from the private and public sectors and verifies the privacy and data protection practices of organizations in a various industries. In addition to Institute activities, Dr. Ponemon is an adjunct professor for ethics and privacy at Carnegie Mellon University’s CIO Institute. He is a Fellow of the Center for Government Innovation of the Unisys Corporation.