Feeds

Slapdash staff blamed for third of UK's data leak balls-ups

But we're getting better at tackling breach damage

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Careless workers and sloppy contractors caused more than a third of biz data breaches last year, proving that crap staff pose the biggest risk to organisations.

An annual study of data cock-ups found that the average cost of a breach in the UK decreased from £1.9 million in 2010 to £1.75 million in 2011. Improved security to defend against leaks and better readiness to cope with any problems that do occur are credited for the savings.

The Ponemon Institute, which ran the survey on behalf of security biz Symantec, found an uptick in malicious or criminal attacks, up from 29 per cent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2011. These types of breaches tend to be the most costly but are rarer than breaches caused as a result of carelessness or stupidity.

Small firms without dedicated security staff and well-developed policies are more at risk from criminal onslaughts.

The study estimates data breaches cost companies an average of £79 per compromised record. As well as direct costs (spunked on cleanup and consultant fees and the like) the figure includes £37 spent on indirect costs, such as lost business, damage to reputation or churn of existing customers.

Mike Jones of Symantec said: "We’re noticing that companies at risk of data loss are becoming wise to the financial impact of a data breach. These businesses are implementing steps not just to prevent loss but to mitigate the damage, should a breach occur.

"It’s not just direct costs – such as fines from The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – that need to be considered, although these help to drive the business case for preventative measures, but also indirect costs such as brand impact and disappointed customers leaving the brand."

Jones noted that data breaches have become such a common occurrence that "UK consumers have become somewhat desensitised to data losses" but urged against complacency.

"The cost of data loss still remains high and, in tighter economic times, even a single digit increase in customer churn can be terminal to profitability," he said. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.