Global Cost of Data Breach Increases by 15 percent, According to Ponemon Institute

Traverse City, MI - 05 May 2014: Today Ponemon Institute released its ninth annual Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Study, sponsored by IBM (NYSE: IBM). According to the study of 314 companies spanning 10 countries, the average total cost of a data breach increased 15 percent in the last year to $3.5 million Local currencies were converted to U.S. dollars for comparison purposes.. The study also found that the cost incurred for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information increased more than nine percent to $145.

The ninth annual study involved the collection of detailed information about the financial consequences of a data breach. For purposes of this research, a data breach occurs when sensitive, protected or confidential data is lost or stolen and put at risk. Ponemon Institute conducted 1,690 interviews with IT, compliance and information security practitioners representing 314 organizations in the following 10 countries: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, Brazil, Japan, Italy, India and, for the first time, the Arabian region (a consolidation of organizations in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia).  

“The goal of this research is to not just help companies understand the types of data breaches that could impact their business, but also the potential costs and how best to allocate resources to the prevention, detection and resolution of such an incident,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of Ponemon Institute. “This year’s Cost of Data Breach Study also provides guidance on the likelihood an organization will have a data breach and what can be done to reduce the financial consequences.” 

All those interviewed are knowledgeable about their organization’s data breach and the costs associated with resolving the breach. All participating organizations experienced a data breach ranging from a low of approximately 2,400 to slightly more than 100,000 compromised records, which identifies the individual whose information has been lost or stolen in a data breach. 

“Clearly, cybersecurity threats are a growing concern for businesses, especially when we consider how persistent data has become in the age of cloud and mobility,” said Kris Lovejoy, General Manager, IBM Security Services Division. “A data breach can result in enormous damage to a business that goes way beyond the financials. At stake is customer loyalty and brand reputation.” 

The following are key takeaways from the Global Cost of Data Breach Study: 

Consistent with previous Cost of Data Breach studies, the most common cause of a data breach is a malicious insider or criminal attack. In this year’s study, we asked companies represented in this research what worries them most about security incidents, what investments they are making in security and the existence of a security strategy. Following are some of the key findings: 

The State of Advanced Persistent Threats study

Today Ponemon also released The Economic Consequences of an APT Attack study sponsored by Trusteer, an IBM company.This newly released report is part of a larger research study entitled, The State of Advanced Persistent Threats, published in December 2013.  This original research of 755 U.S. IT security practitioners supports the findings of The Cost of Data Breach study, wherein targeted criminal attacks are considered by a majority of respondents to be their organizations’ greatest threat.  Another corroborating fact is a finding that reputation damages represent the most costly component or consequence of criminal attacks, and especially those involving the theft or misuse of information assets.  Respondents in this study estimate an average cost to restore reputation as much as $9.4 million.

About Ponemon Institute

Ponemon Institute is dedicated to independent research and education that advances information security, data protection, privacy and responsible information management practices within businesses and governments throughout the world.  Our mission is to conduct high quality, empirical studies on critical issues that affect the protection of information assets and IT infrastructure. As a member of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), we uphold strict data confidentiality, privacy and ethical research standards.

About IBM Security

IBM’s security portfolio provides the security intelligence to help organizations holistically protect their people, data, applications and infrastructure. IBM offers solutions for identity and access management, security information and event management, database security, application development, risk management, endpoint management, next-generation intrusion protection and more. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research and development, and delivery organizations. IBM monitors 15 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries and holds more than 3,000 security patents. For more information on IBM security, please visit:

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A Single Breach of Sensitive Personal Data Cost $3.5 in 2014 (Credit: IBM and Ponemon Institute)

The average cost of a data breach was up 15 percent in 2014 (Credit: IBM and Ponemon Institute)

The cost of a single lost or stolen record costs an average of $145 (Credit: IBM and Ponemon Institute)

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