What impact do security breaches have as the cyber landscape continues to evolve? IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute explore this question in their research: The 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study. This annual study provides security leaders with an industry benchmark for assessing and mitigating their data breach risks.
What was one of the most significant findings? For the third year in a row, having an incident response (IR) plan stood out as the top factor for saving costs on data breaches for organizations across the globe.
A Million Dollar Idea: Incident Response Plans
Having an IR plan deployed throughout the organization was found to be the most significant cost-saving strategy. An incident response plan and a fully functional team decreased the per capita cost of a data breach from $225 to $199. In fact, organizations that can contain a breach in less than 30 days can save roughly $1 million — not to mention what they save in negative brand impact.
What were the other attention-worthy findings in the study? Factors that save costs on data breaches are employee training, participation in threat sharing and having board-level involvement in the overall security process. However, failing to be compliant was one of the biggest drivers for increasing costs for the average data breach.
Moving Up: Positive Security Trends
The study also highlighted some positive security trends. The global average cost of a data breach is down 10 percent over previous years, from $4 to $3.62 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record also significantly decreased from the year before, from $158 to $141.
What impacted these results? A strong U.S. dollar, which contributed to the decline in overall cost. Despite this drop, the cost of a breach in the U.S. went up from $7.01 to $7.35 million — an increase of 4.9 percent. Companies in the 2017 study also experienced larger breaches, with the average size of the data breaches increasing 1.8 percent.
To learn more about the average cost of a data breach, key factors that increase costs (and the strategies to keep them down), download the 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study. For more on effective IR and cyber resilience, download our study, Cyber Resilience in the Modern SOC: Why Detection and Prevention Is Not Enough.