A recent study shows that data breaches are getting more costly for businesses.
According to the Ponemon Institute’s “2010 Annual Study: Cost of a Data Breach,” the average cost of a data breach in 2010 was $7.2 million — up from an average of $7 million in 2009.
The costliest aspect of a data breach: customer turnover. Loss of business directly related to records being compromised caused companies the most financial harm.
Other costs factored in to the total include: disruption of normal business processes, legal services and investigation efforts.
What’s causing the costliest breaches? According to Ponemon’s study of 51 breaches in 2010, the most common causes were:
- Negligence – 41% of the breaches studied were caused by employee negligence, up from 40% in 2009. This includes breaches caused by lost or stolen mobile devices and mistakes made by third-party companies.
- Malicious or criminal attacks – Attacks caused 31% of the breaches studied, up from 24% in 2009. Though they weren’t the most common type, breaches caused by malicious or criminal attacks were the most expensive.
- System failure – Breaches caused by system failure made up 26% of the cases in 2010, down from 36% in 2009.