The Digital India program, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promises to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a connected, knowledge economy. The program envisages the use of information technology to deliver quality education, health and banking services to the farthest corners of the country.

The importance of cybersecurity in achieving this goal cannot be overstated. According to a recent report, cybersecurity incidents in India grew by 117 percent in 2015.

As the volume of incidents increases, Indian companies should implement efficient and robust strategies to respond to cybersecurity threats and limit the cost of a data breach.

A Growing Challenge

IBM and Ponemon Institute recently released the “2016 Cost of Data Breach Study: India,” the annual benchmark study on the cost of data breach incidents for companies based in India.

Below are the key takeaways from the report:

  • The average total cost of a breach was 9.73 crore INR. This represents a 9.5 percent increase over 2015 costs. In comparison, the global average total cost of a data breach increased by 5.4 percent.
  • The size of data breaches increased as well — the average size grew by 8.5 percent in 2016. This is much more than the global average increase of 3.2 percent.
  • The impact of data breaches varied by industry. Certain sectors, such as financial services, had higher data breach costs when compared with industries such as research and the public sector.
  • Forty-one percent of companies experienced a data breach as a result of a malicious or criminal attack, which was the most common root cause of a breach.
  • The cost of a data breach was directly related to the number of records comprised in the attack. The greater the number of records lost, the higher the cost. Data breaches that involved less than 10,000 records had an average cost of 5.96 crore INR, while breaches involving more than 50,000 records had an average cost of 16 crore INR.
  • The longer it takes to detect and contain a data breach, the more costly it becomes to resolve.

As you can see from the statistics, the cost, size and complexity of the data breaches has continued to rise, much more than the global average.

Limiting the Cost of a Data Breach

For Digital India to succeed, it is important that industries and organizations prosper. As more and more Indian organizations implement cloud, mobility and big data technologies to grow their business, it is vital that they tackle the cybersecurity challenge head-on.

Companies should implement incident response capabilities and data security strategies, such as encryption and threat sharing, to reduce the impact and cost of a data breach.

Download the 2016 Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study: India

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