12-27-21 | Blog Post

Data Breaches: How Much They Can Cost You

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Imagine the following scenario. You’re sitting at a coffee shop, getting some work done. While you look away, someone comes by and steals your computer. You probably wouldn’t be too happy about this; that computer is worth a lot of money, and you need it to get important things done. Now what if you’re sitting at a coffee shop, getting some work done, and instead of stealing your computer, someone in the coffee shop is stealing information about what you’re doing? What could that data be worth?

Most people probably don’t think of their data that way. Similarly, if you run a business, it may not occur to you to think of your organization’s data in terms of monetary value. After all, most, if not all of it, probably didn’t cost anything to create. However, consider what that data does for your business; it might support applications you use on a daily basis, provide you important information about your operations, or can contain sensitive details about you or your customers.

Never before has protecting your data been so important. Data breaches can have various causes, be them unauthorized users trying to obtain information about your business or customers, a goal to get a ransom out of you, or even someone within your organization trying to obtain unauthorized access to a system. Other eventualities, such as hardware failure causing data loss, can’t be ruled out either.

How much do data breaches actually cost?

The cost of data breaches has been rising over the past several years. A 2018 study by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute showed that the average cost of a data breach amounts to $3.86 million. The type of data lost can also cause higher costs. The average amount companies spent for lost records of sensitive or confidential information reached $148 per record in 2018.

While at first glance, the figures may seem steep, it’s important to remember that downtime caused by a data breach can be as much of a cost as the efforts you make to restore the integrity of your systems. The study found that companies who contained a data breach within 30 days of it beginning saved over $1 million compared to those who took longer, indicating that cost-effective remediation of a data breach relies on quick action. Most companies, however, take an average 197 before identifying a breach.

Bottom Line

While protecting yourself against every possible threat can be unrealistic, it’s prudent to have some semblance of a plan for how you’ll deal with a data breach. First, you’ll want to protect your data well before a data breach happens. Investing in a reliable backup solution is key. The 3/2/1 rule of backing up data is one that several organizations follow; this states that you should have three copies of your data stored on two different forms of media, with one being stored separately. You’ll also want to consider methods by which you can prevent a data breach in the first place.

If you are looking for a cybersecurity partner to bolster your strategy against a data breach, Otava specializes in both Backup solutions as well as Security as a Service.

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