SMB’s should avoid being penny wise and pound foolish on data security and IT support

Data protection
According to one of the latest studies in the data security field, businesses that decry the cost of following new regulations may well be putting the cart before the horse.  Larry Poneman of the renowned Ponemon Institute has reviewed the true costs of data breaches and has concluded that in the long run, data security regulations are probably a money-saver.  This is true despite the fact that initially, such regulations do tend to impose new costs on businesses.

The Poneman Institute conducted the 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study for Symantec, a major provider of data security and anti-virus software for both enterprises and small- to medium-sized businesses.  According to the study, the typical cost for a data breach in 2012 was $136 per record.  This figure pertains to all companies worldwide.

The cost of data breaches in the United States is significantly higher, averaging $188 per record during 2012.  Interestingly, while the global cost of data breaches is continuing to climb on a per-record basis, the United States is seeing a slight decline.  Robert Hamilton of Symantec believes that the decrease can be attributed to US companies possessing a stronger data security profile to begin with.  Many, for example, already have solid incident response plans in place.

Larry Ponemon concurs with these views, but his computer protection research demonstrates why these measures alone are not enough to eliminate all data breaches.

According to the 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study, approximately two out of every three data breaches occur due to either system problems or human error.  Regarding computer security regulations, Ponemon comments that they “always cost companies in the early stage because they have to change significantly their business process.”

Eventually, however, the guidance provided by such regulations pays dividends, helping organizations to “become even better and more efficient at managing the cost of the data breach.”

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Learn more about the author Bob Martin