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Cost of a data breach at a record high; adopt encryption, automation, analytics to lower costs

By CYNTHIA LUU posted Mon August 02, 2021 12:50 PM


Data breaches have been growing in number and scale, while at the same time, taking longer to detect and contain. IBM Security’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, reported an average total cost of a data breach that is at its highest of 17 years, at $4.24 million.


As a data security practitioner, how are you protecting your data assets in the midst of evolving world events and cloud migration strategies that have helped to increase the devastating impact of a data breach?

The 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report identified the following trends amongst the organizations that were surveyed:

  • Ransomware and destructive attacks were costlier than other types of breaches. Ransomware attacks cost an average of $4.62 million – more expensive than the average data breach at $4.24 million
  • Compliance failures was the top factor found to amplify data breach costs. Organizations with a high level of compliance failures (resulting in fines, penalties and lawsuits) experienced a 51.1% increase in average cost of a data breach

Fortunately, there are proven ways to mitigate data risk and breach costs!

Modern approaches can help to reduced costs. This includes the adoption of AI, security analytics, and encryption, which were the top three mitigating factors shown to reduce the cost of a breach, saving companies between $1.25 million and $1.49 million compared to those who did not have significant usage of these tools.

By the numbers:

  • Organizations that fully deployed security automation saw an average breach cost that was nearly 80% lower than those that did not deploy automation. And for those who extended the use of AI, they saved 36.8% on average when compared with companies that used it to a lesser extent
  • Organizations with a mature use of analytics had an average total cost of a breach that was 9% lower than organizations with a less mature use of analytics
  • Organizations using high standard encryption had an average total cost of a breach that was 4% lower than for organizations using low standard or no encryption
  • A difference of 42.3% in breach costs was noted between mature zero trust organizations and organizations that did not start on that path

Take these steps to learn more:

Read more about how you can learn from other organizations’ data breaches by getting a copy of the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report at:

Sign up for the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report webinar on August 18 at 11:00 AM ET, or watch the replay, here:

Learn more about IBM Security’s data security services and Guardium data security portfolio to find solutions that help prevent data breaches: