The average total cost of a data breach declined, but costs increased for many organizations - Help Net Security

The average total cost of a data breach declined, but costs increased for many organizations - Help Net Security

Data breaches cost companies $3.86 million per breach on average, and compromised employee accounts are the most expensive root cause.



Based on in-depth analysis of data breaches experienced by over 500 organizations worldwide, 80% of these incidents resulted in the exposure of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Out of all types of data exposed in these breaches, customer PII was also the costliest to businesses.


As companies are increasingly accessing sensitive data via new remote work and cloud-based business operations, the report sheds light on the financial losses that organizations can suffer if this data is compromised.


Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on in-depth interviews with more than 3,200 security professional in organizations that suffered a data breach over the past year. Some of the top findings from this year’s report include:


Smart tech slashes breach costs in half: Companies who had fully deployed security automation technologies (which leverage AI, analytics and automated orchestration to identify and respond to security events) experienced less than half the data breach costs compared to those who didn’t have these tools deployed – $2.45 million vs. $6.03 million on average.


Paying a premium for compromised credentials: In incidents where attackers accessed corporate networks through the use of stolen or compromised credentials, businesses saw nearly $1 million higher data breach costs compared to the global average – reaching $4.77 million per data breach. Exploiting third-party vulnerabilities was the second costliest root cause of malicious breaches ($4.5 million) for this group.


Mega breach costs soar by the millions: Breaches wherein over 50 million records were compr ..