Data breach average cost pinned at US$3.89M

Data breach average cost pinned at US$3.89M

Down slightly from US$3.92 million a year prior

Credit: ID 145894129 © Kanawat |

The financial impact of global data breaches is down from last year, a new study has found.

Gauged over responses from 524 companies, the average total cost of a data breach in 2020 globally was priced at US$3.89 million, down slightly from US$3.92 million a year prior.

This breaks down to US$146 per lost or stolen record, according to IBM Security’s 2020 edition of the Cost of a Data Breach Report

The healthcare, energy and financial industries saw the largest average total data breach cost, at US$7.13 million, US$6.39 million and US$5.85 million, respectively.

Wendi Whitmore, vice president of IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence, said, based off of the global results, businesses that had invested in automated technologies had the advantage when it came to mitigating the impact of data breaches.

“At a time when businesses are expanding their digital footprint at an accelerated pace and security industry’s talent shortage persists, teams can be overwhelmed securing more devices, systems and data,” she said.

“Security automation can help resolve this burden, not only enabling a faster breach response but a significantly more cost-efficient one as well.”

As a result, global businesses that used security automation technologies saw breach costs cut by more than half – from US$6.03 million down to US$2.45 million.

More than half of the breaches around the world were caused by malicious attacks at 52 per cent. System glitches were the second-highest cause at 25 per cent and then human error at 23 per cent.

Malicious attack breaches were also the most financially heavy, costing organisations on average US$4.27 million, as opposed to system glitches, at US$3.38 million, and human error, at US$3.33 million.

The number of days to identify a breach increased slightly from 206 days in 2019 to 207 days in 2020. The timeframe for breach containment however held steady at 73 days.

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