Data breaches costing businesses £2.53m per incident

Money down drain

The average cost of a data breach to UK businesses is 2.53 million per incident, but this reduces substantially if a company has an incident response team in place.

So claims research by the Ponemon Institute and IBM, which calculated that the cost is decreased by $16 per compromised record should there be the resource to minimise the impact of a hack. This is because services like incident forensics, communications, legal expenditures and regulatory mandates make up 59 per cent of the data breach costs. However, if there is an inhouse team in place to handle such matters, these costs are not as high.

"Over the many years studying the data breach experience of more than 2,000 organisations in every industry, we see that data breaches are now a consistent 'cost of doing business' in the cyber crime era," said Dr. Larry Ponemon.

"The evidence shows that this is a permanent cost organisations need to be prepared to deal with and incorporate in their data protection strategies."

In addition, businesses should work with IT or external security experts to act faster when an incident occurs to speed up the time it takes to resolve issues and they should be reported to the relevant regulatory bodies as soon as is possible.

Telling customers as soon as a breach has happened can lessen the impact, especially if they take significant action such as setting up a hotline for support and offer credit monitoring services.

"The amount of time, effort and costs that companies face in the wake of a data breach can be devastating, and unfortunately most companies still don't have a plan in place to deal with this process efficiently," said Ted Julian, vice president of Resilient.

"While the risk is inevitable, having a coordinated and automated incident response plan, as well as access to the right resources and skills, can make or break how much a company is impacted by a security event."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.