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Every year the financial impact of data breaches on organizations rises.  Just this past year, IBM’s Data Breach Report revealed that the cost of a data breach has risen 12% over the past 5 years to $3.92 million per incident on average.  The study considered many cost factors: from legal to regulatory to technical activities; costs that come from loss of brand equity, customer turnover and consequently, a drain on employee productivity.


With the realization that data breach costs are not only referring to the incident itself or the money that gets allocated to “fix” the breach; but that business operations and success are a part of the cost itself, taking the appropriate cybersecurity steps to protect against breach becomes even more valuable.


Something else that is important to note about breach costs is that the life cycle of a breach has a major impact. The IBM study found that this year a data breach life cycle was of 279 days, which is 4.9% longer than it was in 2018 (of 266 days). 


Now, the longer a breach’s life cycle is, the greater the total cost will be for a business.  This is particularly the case of malicious and criminal attacks, which took an average of 314 days to identify and contain.  Also, the cost of a breach with a life cycle of more than 200 days is $1.2 million higher than one of fewer than 200 days. 


Furthermore, breaches caused by system glitches and human error are included in the cost analysis, for example a misconfiguration of a cloud server, and the report actually found that 49% of data breaches were caused by system glitches and human error.  This is very important because it means that the first way you can mitigate costs and strengthen your organization’s security starts from within, which means you have everything you need to get going.


Here are three cybersecurity steps you can take to mitigate the costs of breach and improve your overall security posture.


Cybersecurity Step 1: Mitigate costs with security awareness training and effective tech solutions


By implementing security awareness training and adopting appropriate technology solutions and services that can identify accidental breaches at their onset, you are already in a much better place for reducing costs and the chances of breach. 


If your employees and the business operations tools and tech you use to conduct business aren’t onboard with cybersecurity, you’re always going to be that much more vulnerable to risks from the outside (as you are from the inside). 


The technology solutions you use to help you spot breach on the other hand will minimize the damage because you’re able to get ahold of your incident response team right away, who can then put into action the plan your business has ready for the type of incident you’re facing.


Cybersecurity Step 2: Mitigate costs with an incident response plan and team


Your incident response plan and team are essential to your overall security strength and mitigating costs, it’s just something you need to have, even if you have to outsource the team part due to staff restraints or other issues you may face with onboarding team members. 


The IBM study found that having an incident response team and plan holds a direct correlation with an organization’s overall costs; they are actually, two of the top three greatest cost-saving factors for a business. 


In fact, companies with both of these measures in place had $1.23 million less total costs for a data breach on average than those that had neither in place ($3.51 million vs. $4.74 million).  Also of interest, is that testing the incident response plan through exercises helps teams to respond faster and potentially contain the breach sooner.


Cybersecurity Step 3: Mitigating costs with various security solutions


Additional cost saving solutions for businesses include:

  • The extensive use of encryption (it reduces the total cost of a data breach by $360,000)
  • Business continuity management
  • DevSecOps approach
  • Employee education
  • Automation platforms (full security automation tech adoption reduces the cost of a breach to around half the cost – an average of $2.65 million – compared to companies that have no technologies deployed – where costs are at $5.16 million average)


No business wants to pay more than they must for something like a breach; above all, no business should want to be at risk of breach, let alone high breach costs.  However, since cybersecurity has yet to become part of the business process and mindset, meaning CEOs and executives don’t see it as part of conducting business operations yet, it is still treated like this separate entity that could or could not necessarily be implemented or needed in its entirety.


These three cybersecurity steps can get you moving in the right direction to at least stop major financial disaster from taking place following breach. 



And if you’re ready to take your cybersecurity posture a step further, here are a couple ways NCX Group can help:


Employee training with one of the MyCSO Cybersecurity Training offerings.  You can get started with our free solution by clicking here.

A fifteen-minute consultation for any cybersecurity or breach cost related questions you have that require an expert’s insights and knowledge.  Schedule your free consultation here.


Photo Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture