Negligence most common cause of data breaches – study

9 Mar 2011

Negligence is mostly to blame for breaches of data at organisations, costing them an average of US$7.2m, a new study suggests.

The average cost per record came to US$214, an increase of US$10 from the previous year, the 2010 Annual Study: U.S. Cost of a Data Breach reveals.

The most common threat is negligence, at 41pc of all breaches, the study shows.

The costs associated with a breach involve several elements:

  • detecting the incident
  • investigation
  • forensics
  • customer notification
  • paying for identity-protection services for victims
  • business disruption
  • productivity losses

Thirty-one per cent of all breaches fall under the fastest-growing category, malice or crime. Malicious or criminal attacks also cost organisations dearly. The most expensive breach reported in the study was US$35.3m, and the least expensive came in at US$780,000.

The Ponemon Institute conducted the study, sponsored by Symantec, and is based on data supplied by 51 US companies across 15 industry sectors.