Data breaches have been growing in numbers and scale, taking longer to detect and contain. The average total cost of a data breach is at its highest of 17 years, at $4.24 million. The year over year increase of 10% is the largest single year cost increase recorded in the last 7 years.
IBM and the Ponemon institute have been analyzing the real cost of data breaches for over a decade now. Each year, we drill down to a large variety of cost factors and long-term effects of breaches. During 2020, a year in which the world was thrown into a global pandemic, data breach costs increased considerably. Part of the rise in costs was due to the pandemic’s effects on how quickly organizations detect and respond to cyberattacks.
Remote working and digital transformation were rushed by necessity during the pandemic. With security lagging behind, that increased the cost of a data breach. Organizations that pointed at remote work as a factor in causing the breach saw breach costs that averaged $1.07 million more than where remote work was not identified as a factor. That’s 24.2% higher than the average we saw across all breaches analyzed.
Remote work also had effects on the time it took to identify a breach and contain it. Companies that had more than 50% of the work taking place remotely experienced a longer than average time to identify and contain a data breach. The result was a 16.6% increase in breach costs compared with organizations that did not work remotely to the same extent.
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The Pandemic is Not Over Yet
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