Thursday, November 24, 2005

High cost to data breaches

According to two surveys conducted by Ponemon Institute under sponsorship of PGP Corp, there's a high cost to be paid by businesses that suffer security breaches in which sensitive customer data they hold is lost. Not only are the costs high in terms of internal investigations and legal fees, there are indications that customers are taking notice of these security incidents involving their personal data by terminating their accounts or otherwise ending the business relationship.

The surveys done by Ponemon Institute, the Tucson, Ariz.-based think tank on data privacy issues, are entitled "Lost Customer Information: What Does a Data breach Cost Companies?" and "National Survey on Data Security Breach Notification." Both paint a dismal picture about the real-world consequences of fumbling the ball on customer information.

The first report is a survey of 14 organizations that lost confidential customer information and had a regulatory requirement to notify the affected individuals. The 14 organizations primarily hailed from the financial services arena but also included retailers, insurance companies, telecom firms, higher education and healthcare. To cope and recover from a single security breach cost on average $14 million per company per breach or $140 per lost customer record. The direct costs in incremental spending for outside legal counsel, increased call-center costs and related items alone were $5 million.

CATEGORIES: 1privacy, 1breaches, 1costs, 1survey, 1legal, 1stats
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