Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is the cost of a Data Breach?

NEW YORK - MAY 20:  In this photo illustration...

SC magazine just reported that the Ponemon Institute has determined the cost of a data breach is $204 per record. "Data breaches last year cost organizations $204 per exposed record on average, which represents an almost two percent increase over 2008, according to the fifth annual "Cost of Data Breach" study released on Monday by the Ponemon Institute... The study, which examined the experiences of 45 U.S. companies that suffered breaches last year, also found that the number of data breaches that were caused by malicious attacks and botnets doubled from 12 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2009. In addition, data breaches caused by malicious attacks cost organizations 30 to 40 percent more on average than those caused by human negligence or by IT system glitches." There are a number of ways to protect your data in transit such as PGP Encryption but when the companies looses data, there isnt much the end user can do to protect themselves.

Thats a lot of money. If we look at the data breach of Heartland, which was over 100 million records, that, well let me do the math, may take a minute. Its $20,400,000,000. Thats a lot of money. Condidering I was a shopper mostlikely of Heartland, I do not recall getting a check from anyone for $204. I will not hold my breath for that. We all asked if the retailers like Heartland and TJ Max had a PCI Audit done. Would this have protected our information?

So far, I am pretty sure I recieved a letter offering me free 2 year credit monitoring from Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Countrywide because thet lost my records. I am waiting for my check for $204 from each of those companies. Also, over the past few years I have had to have my credit cards replaced with Chase, American Express, and several Visa versions. So I am still waiting for those $204 checks. Maybe in total I am owed about 9x$204=$1,836. That will be a nice check when I get it.

Security Requirements

So what can a company do to help reduce these data breaches? The easy answers, yet not implemented, include:
1) Encryption of back-up data and tapes
2) Conduct yearly Vulnerability Assessments
3) Conduct Quarterly or Monthly Vulnerability Scanning
4) Implement a Data loss prevention solution
5) Go through a PCI Audit or HIPAA Security Assessment yearly

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Gary Bahadur
Managed Firewall
Managed Vulnerability Scanning