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Symantec and Ponemon Report Data Breaches Cost of $136 Per Record

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Data breaches remain a rather costly event for IT. According to Symantec and the Ponemon Institute, which just published the 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study, organizations should calculate the average cost of a data breach at $136 per record. The average price tag of data breaches was $5.4 million.

The report found that two thirds of all data breaches are caused by human errors and system problems, which include issues such as employee mishandling of confidential data, lack of system controls, and violations of industry and government regulations. The most costly data breaches occur in the healthcare, finance and pharmaceutical fields, where a breach can be up to 70 percent more expensive than anywhere else.

Malicious and criminal attacks account for 37 percent of all data breaches. U.S. and German companies experience the most expensive data breach incidents caused by malicious or criminal attackers at $277 and $214 per record, respectively; German companies are most likely to face a malicious or criminal attack, the report states.

“While external attackers and their evolving methods pose a great threat to companies, the dangers associated with the insider threat can be equally destructive and insidious,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman at the Ponemon Institute. “Eight years of research on data breach costs has shown employee behavior to be one of the most pressing issues facing organizations today, up 22 percent since the first survey.”

The report covers data breach experiences of 277 companies during 2012.

Wolfgang Gruener is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. He is currently principal analyst at Ndicio Research, a market analysis firm that focuses on and disruptive technologies. An 18-year veteran in IT journalism and , he previously published TG Daily and was editor of Tom's Hardware news, which he grew from a link collection in the early 2000s into one of the most comprehensive and trusted technology news sources.

See here for all of Wolfgang's Tom's IT Pro articles.

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