Data Breaches Continue to Get More Costly

The average cost of data breaches to the companies hit by them continues to increase, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute.

The study of 43 breaches disclosed last year found that costs averaged $202 per compromised customer record -- up from $197 in 2007 and $182 in 2006. Overall costs ranged from $613,000 to $32 million, with the number of compromised records ranging from about 4,200 to 113,000.

Increasingly, the biggest cost to companies is lost business, which accounted for $139 of the average breach cost, said Larry Ponemon, the think tank's chairman.

Gartner Inc. analyst John Pescatore said Ponemon's figures were "in the ballpark" of Gartner's own cost estimates for breaches involving up to 100,000 records. "It's a little lower than what we've seen" -- but not by much, he said.

This version of this story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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