How much data breaches cost SA business - TechCentral

How much data breaches cost SA business

New research suggests that the average cost of a data breach in South Africa is a staggering R32m.

According to the research, from Ponemon Institute and commissioned by IBM Security, that figure has risen by 12% in the past year. According to the study, data breaches cost companies on average R1 632 per lost or stolen record.

The annual study polled organisation in 11 markets: the US, Germany, Canada, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Australia, the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates combined), Brazil, India and countries in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, plus South Africa.

When compared to other markets, organisations in South Africa saw an average cost of a data breach at R32.4m and spent an average of R8.1m on responding to data breaches.

The 2017 Cost of Data Breach report also revealed that malicious or criminal attacks are the most frequent cause of data breaches in South Africa. Forty-seven percent of incidents involved data theft or criminal misuse, the Ponemon Institute found.

These types of incidents cost companies R1 903 per compromised record, compared to R1 425 and R1 432 per compromised record because of a breach caused by a system glitch or employee negligence respectively.

Top factors that contributed to the increase of cost of a data breach in South Africa include compliance failures and the extensive use of mobile platforms. These increased the cost of each compromised record by R79 and R90 respectively.

Incident response team

The study found that having an incident response team in place reduced the cost of a data breach to R1 494 per compromised record.

According to the study, how quickly an organisation can contain data breach incidents has a direct impact on financial consequences. The cost of a data breach was nearly R5m lower on average for organisations that could contain a data breach in less than 30 days compared to those that took longer than that. However, on average, organisations in South Africa took 155 days to identify a breach, and 44 additional days to contain a breach once discovered.

In South Africa, financial, services and industrial companies have topped the list as the most expensive sectors for data breaches, costing organisations over R1 632 per compromised record on average.

The annual study examines both direct and indirect costs to companies in dealing with a single data breach incident. The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 410 companies.  — © 2017 NewsCentral Media

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