It’s no secret that a data breach can have serious consequences for any business, especially after some of the events that occurred throughout 2017. From the costs to repair any internal damage done to the efforts it takes to regain client trust, recovering from such an attack is no easy feat--and they’re only poised to get worse.
The breaches that were seen throughout 2017 actually had a lower average cost than other years, dropping by 10%. However, this still makes the average cost of a breach a considerable $3.62 million, and the particular bodies that were breached are cause for equally considerable concern. Furthermore, while there was a decrease in the average cost of a data breach, there was more data lost in the first half of 2017 than there was in the whole of 2016.
Looking back at the nature of some of these data breaches, there’s little wonder that so much data was lost.
The Equifax breach provides one of the most stunning examples of a data breach, and on a related note, one of the biggest examples of how a breach shouldn’t be handled. Not only were 143 million customers made vulnerable between May and July of 2017, the credit monitoring company waited until September to come clean that a breach had occurred. As a result, a little over a third of the American population was put at risk by having their personally identifiable information like social security numbers and birth dates stolen, without any knowledge of it. The CEO of Equifax put out an apology video that was widely seen as insincere, before losing his job.
In March, a database belonging to business analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet was exposed, allowing 33.7 million contact information records to be accessed. The database included contact information from a variety of recognizable organizations, including Walmart, AT&T, and most disconcertingly, 100,000 employee records from the Department of Defense. This information included the names and job titles of these employees as well.
Verizon also found itself in hot water in July when 14 million of their customers had enough data to access their accounts exposed. While there was no indication that this database was actually ever accessed by a cybercriminal, the fact that it could be accessed by anyone who happened to type it the right URL provides proof, along with the countless other examples of data breaches, that businesses need to take their data security more seriously than they are.
The most effective means of doing so may be to outline the cost that each industry faced for each breached record.
Reportedly, records for the following industries cost the breached business the associated amounts, for each record that was breached.
- Healthcare: $355
- Education: $246
- Financial: $241
- Services: $208
- Life science: $195
- Retail: $172
- Communications: $164
- Industrial: $156
- Energy: $148
- Technology: $145
- Hospitality: $139
- Consumer: $133
- Media: $131
- Transportation: $129
- Research: $112
- Public: $80
These are the numbers for 2016, so while 2017’s average cost per breached record will be lower, it is important to remember how many more breaches were seen in 2017, and how many more records were therefore accessed. As a result, while the average cost will be lower, the total can be expected to be much, much higher.
This applies to more than just the major companies and other large businesses and enterprises that are out there, as well. Reports have indicated that, not only do over 70% of attacks target small businesses, but over half of all small businesses have been a target of a cyberattack. Even worse for the small business, the estimated cost per breach can reach over half a million dollars, out-of-pocket, once all fees and fines are accounted for.
That estimate doesn’t even take the lost business that can be counted on after a data breach into account. So, not only does a data breach cost you financially, there’s a decreased chance of even bouncing back afterwards.
Clearly, a data breach isn’t something that a small, or even a medium-sized, business can afford. White Mountain IT Services offers solutions to help protect your data from such breaches. Reach out to us at 603-889-0800 for more information.