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Corporate data breach average cost hits $7.2 million

(Ellen Messmer, Network World) The cost of a data breach went up to $7.2 million last year up from $6.8 million in 2009 with the average cost per compromised record in 2010 reaching $214, up 5% from 2009.

The Ponemon Institute's annual study of data loss costs this year looked at 51 organizations who agreed to discuss the impact of losing anywhere between 4,000 to 105,000 customer records. The private-sector firms participating in the Ponemon Institute's "2010 Annual Study: U.S. Cost of a Data Breach" hail from across various industries, including financial services, retail, pharmaceutical technology and transportation.

While "negligence" remains the main cause of a data breach (in 41% of cases), for the first time the explanation of "malicious or criminal attacks" (in 31% of cases) came in ahead of the third leading cause, "system failure."

It turns out "malicious or criminal attacks" are the most expensive type of data breach to discover and respond to, costing on average $318 per customer record, $151 more than non-malicious breaches that stem from negligence of system failure.

 
 
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