Number of Data Breaches Increased by 1.8% in 2016

Despite the number of data breaches still going up, there are some positive news as well. New research indicates the average cost per data breach is going down, which is a positive development. Unfortunately, this change can mainly be attributed to the US Dollar surging in value, rather than companies getting better at protecting their data. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is good to see some form of a silver lining at least.

Data Breach Costs Are Down, Attacks Are Up

Every type of research associated with online security is a mixed bag these days. On the positive side, the average costs of data breaches have decreased by 11.4% in 2016. This is good news for companies suffering from data breaches, even though the average cost still hovers around $3.6m. The bad news is how the number of data breaches increased by 1.8% in the same year.

All of these numbers tell us two different things. First of all, companies are getting worse at keeping sensitive information safe. It was already quite bad in the years prior, but with more attacks taking place, it is evident there is little focus on improving countermeasures. That situation will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. The last thing we need is more successful data breaches, yet companies remain unwilling to do much about it for now.

Second, it goes to show companies continue to underestimate the financial repercussions caused by a data breach. If the US Dollar wouldn’t have been on a strong run last year, the average cost would not have gone down either. Even so, suffering $3.6m in losses for a data breach is still a lot of money. It seems corporations are more than willing to make this financial hit and move on with their business. That is quite a troubling development, as no one should feel even remotely comfortable paying $3.6m for something they could have easily prevented.

The new findings, presented by IBM Security’s Peter Allor, do not bode well for the future of data breaches. US residents have a 25% chance to become the victim of a data breach between now and 2019. That is not something to look forward to under any circumstance. Moreover, it appears victims have a higher chance to be caught in a recurring data breach later on, which only makes things worse.

What is most remarkable about these new findings is how a proactive approach by companies can reduce costs even further. More specifically, undertaking action within 100 days after a data breach reduces costs by as much as 26%. It should never take over three months to successfully identify a data breach, but that is something we have to live with for the time being. Proper solutions need to be implemented, that much is evident.

As far as data breaches go, successful hacking attempts and human error are the two most common causes. System “glitches” are often exploited successfully as well, which is quite troublesome. IT infrastructure all over the world are in dire need of a major overhaul, yet doing so takes a lot of time and money. It seems evident a lot of corporations will not create a budget to take these steps anytime soon.

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