Do You Know the Cost of a Data Breach in 2022?

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Do you know the average cost of a data breach in 2022? If your business manages any type of proprietary information, whether paper or digital, you should. 

Every year the Ponemon Institute releases their “Cost of a Data Breach Study” where they analyze the lasting cost and impact of information security breaches. According to the report, in 2021 the average cost came in at about $180.00 per data record. 

For many businesses it’s not just about the initial dollars lost, it’s also worth weighing the cost of legal ramifications, lowered brand reputation, and presumed loss of customers whether they were affected or not.

In 2021, Ponemon identified the most common initial attack vendors for a data breach. The first was compromised credentials which was responsible for 20% of breaches that year. Second was phishing, this resulted in 17% attacks. The third highest attack was 15% due to cloud misconfiguration. The last attack was business email compromise which resulted in 4% of breaches.

If you’re looking to improve your information security processes in 2022, here are 5 easy steps you can take:

Stay Informed:

It might be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay on top of recent breaches and security threats, as well as what steps you can take or what protocols  you can put into place to protect your organization from those threats. Staying informed will also help you with our second suggestion.

Raise Awareness: 

Education is key, so raising employee awareness of common threats like:

  • Email phishing scams
  • Entering personal information on public devices
  • Not securing computers, electronic devices, and files when you are away from your desk. 

Knowing how to recognize these threats is a great start to ensuring that your employees know the risks and what they can do to protect information better

Be prepared:

No one wants a Data Breach to occur, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan in place in the event that one does. According to Ponemon, in 2021 it took an average of 287 days (that’s almost an entire year!)  to detect and contain a data breach, so the sooner you can put an action plan into place, the better off you will be.

Improve Security Measures: 

Take steps to improve your security measures of digital and hard-copy information. Make sure you use secure passwords to protect your information. Next, ensure  that access to servers and hard-drives is restricted to only those people who need access to secure information. Store paper files in secure cabinets or rooms, or in a secure off-site storage facility.

Make Destruction a Priority:

 If you are managing secure information you should have a process in place to manage the destruction of that data at the end of its useful life. This includes digital archives, as well as paper. 

Partner with a company, like Augusta Data Storage, who can help manage your routine document shredding or annual purge projects for paper records as well as provide you with safe and secure solutions for destroying your outdated electronic devices through our e-waste shredding

Impacts of Data Breaches

Long or short term, data breaches are going to cost you, typically in the fom of lost client trust, and recovery and crisis management costs.  These are just some of the ways a Data Breach can impact your business.

Financial Loss

Hackers’ intentions are to make money.. Once a hacker obtains your information they will either sell it to make profit, or hold it for ransom. The 2021 IBM report found that the average breach cost in the U.S. was $12.50 million. This is a significant increase from the 2020 average of $11.45 million, which was already a 34.0% increase from 2019.

Clients Loss

Your clients trust you to manage and protect their information. For many small businesses, after facing a breach it can be difficult to earn that trust back. In some cases, you may even lose impacted individuals as a client. 

Legal Issues

If you are not handling data properly and a data breach occurs, you could be subject to legal action. This is especially true if the data that was breached included personal information like names, addresses, social security numbers, medical records or banking and credit card information. In addition to the possibility of being sued, you could also be fined by the government.

Bad Reputations

Data breaches can also damage your company’s reputation, which could lead to a loss of clients and business. In some cases, it might even be difficult to recover from a data breach. 

If you have a data breach, it’s important to act quickly and take steps to rectify the situation and improve your security measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Preventing data breaches should be a priority for any business, but especially if you are handling sensitive information. 

There are steps you can take to help prevent data breaches from happening, like raising awareness, being prepared and improving your security measures, and appointing a data breach coordinator to develop proactive policies to protect your data and create a data breach action plan.

What is a Data Breach Coordinator Responsible For?

In the case that a data breach does occur within your business, what are you responsible for?  

On a day-to-day basis the Data Breach Coordinator should be working to monitor risks and educate key stakeholders on opportunities to create better information protection systems.

As the data breach coordinator, you are also responsible for managing your organization’s data breach response plan, notifying the proper people and taking the necessary steps to mitigate the damage caused by the data breach. This includes notifying your clients, as well as any relevant regulatory bodies. 

You will also be responsible for conducting an investigation into the data breach to determine how it occurred and what steps need to be taken to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Data breaches are becoming more and more common, and they can have serious consequences for businesses. It’s important to take steps to prevent data breaches from occurring and to be prepared in the event that one does occur. By taking these steps, you can help protect your business from the financial, legal and reputational damage that can be caused by a data breach.

If you need help managing your data or destroying outdated records, contact Augusta Data Storage. We can help you with document shredding, data destruction and e-waste recycling. Visit our website or give us a call today to learn more about our services.

[Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal advice. Should you need legal advice regarding document retention and secure shredding policies, please seek the appropriate legal counsel.]