Data Breaches, Ransomware Of Increasing Concern For Businesses

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Businesses with large amounts of data to handle know full well the threats they face these days. Unfortunately for them, things like data breaches and ransomware are becoming more common, especially for smaller companies, and the cost of dealing with them is on the rise.

Indeed, the most recent data – taken from an examination of 350 companies worldwide that suffered data breaches – shows that the average cost of handling a breach from initial response to remediation cost companies an average of $3.8 million last year, according to the latest Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis from the Ponemon Institute. That number is up 23 percent over 2013’s numbers. Further, the cost per stolen record jumped 6 percent on an annual basis.

Differences by industry
Of course, a record stolen from, say, a contracting business isn’t likely to be as costly for the company in question as it would be for a health care provider, the report said. While the average exposed record costs businesses $154 each, the expense for businesses in the health care industry more than double that, with an average cost of $363 per exposed record.

“Based on our field research, we identified three major reasons why the cost keeps climbing,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “First, cyber attacks are increasing both in frequency and the cost it requires to resolve these security incidents. Second, the financial consequences of losing customers in the aftermath of a breach are having a greater impact on the cost. Third, more companies are incurring higher costs in their forensic and investigative activities, assessments and crisis team management.”

Care providers face emerging threats
Likewise, experts in the health care industry are now cautioning businesses on the threat they face from ransomware in particular, the report said. Studies show that while the vast majority of businesses in the industry use anti-virus and other protections, there are still significant potential vulnerabilities they face, which could make them prime targets for ransomware. That could particularly relate to employee training about these threats, because current procedures may not do enough to address the potential problems presented by social engineering.

Further, some companies in the field have already been targeted, the report said. Earlier this year, Hollywood Presbyterian Medial Center said ransomware cost it $17,000 just to regain access to its own system, plus the significant price tag associated with of remediating the breach itself.

Businesses large and small that are dealing with this kind of threat, and unfortunately for many of them they may feel that handling it in-house is cost-prohibitive. Consequently, outsourcing information security to data center services providers that specialize in things like colocation services to maximize the amount of security they get for every dollar they spend. That, in turn, can bring about peace of mind as these companies de-centralize data storage and specialize in keeping it as secure as possible on an ongoing basis.