Study Highlights Costof Data Breachesin a Remote-Work World
Study Highlights Costof Data Breachesin a Remote-Work World 1

By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I (04/27/2022)

A recent study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute quantifies the rising cost of data breaches as workers moved to remote environments during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, an average data breach in 2021 cost $4.24 million – up from $3.86 million in 2020. However, where remote work was a factor in causing the breach, the cost increased by $1.07 million. At organizations with 81-100 percent of employees working remotely, the total average cost was $5.54 million.

To combat the risks associated the rise of remote work, the study highlights the importance of security artificial intelligence (AI) and automation fully deployed – a process by which security technologies are enabled to supplement or substitute human intervention in the identification and containment of incidents and intrusion efforts.

Indeed, organizations with fully deployed security AI/automation saw the average cost of a data breach decrease to $2.90 million. The duration of the breach was also substantially lower, taking an average of 184 days to identify the breach and 63 days to contain the breach, as opposed to an average of 239 days to identify the breach and 85 days to contain the breach for organizations without these technologies.

Organizations continue to struggle with breaches

In 2021 and 2022, several high-profile data breaches have illustrated the major risks cyberattacks represent. This includes a January 2022 attack 483 users’ wallets on Crypto.com, which resulted in the loss of $18 million in Bitcoin and $15 million in Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

In February, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was targeted by a cyberattack that resulted in the hackers accessing personal information of more than 515,000 people being helped by a humanitarian program, with the intruders maintaining access to ICRC’s servers for 70 days after the initial breach.

And in April, an SEC filing revealed that the company Block, which owns Cash App, had been breached by a former employee in December of 2021. This leak included customers’ names, brokerage account numbers, portfolio value, and stock trading activity for over 8 million U.S. users.

Insurers play a key role in helping organizations

The increasing frequency and seriousness of cyberattacks has led more organizations to purchase cyber insurance, with 47 percent of insurance clients using this coverage in 2020, up from 26 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. This shift includes insurers offering more policies specific to cyber risk, instead of including this risk in packages with other coverage.

The insurance industry offers first-party coverage – which typically provides financial assistance to help an insured business with recovery costs, as well as cybersecurity liability, which safeguards a business if a third party files a lawsuit against the policyholder for damages as a result of a cyber incident.

A third option, technology errors and omissions coverage, can safeguard small businesses that offer technology services when cybersecurity insurance doesn’t offer coverage. This kind of coverage is triggered if a business’s product or service results in a cyber incident that involves a third party directly.

Still, the primary focus for organizations looking to defend themselves from cyberattacks is implementing a rigorous cyber defense system.  

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