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Cost of Consequence

How to avoid the average cost of a data breach? Don't be average.

Data breaches and the resulting costs have been studied exhaustively by Ponemon Institute since 2009. The Cost of a Data Breach 2022 report describes the current breach landscape in detail. The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $9.44 million—twice as high as the cost of a data breach anywhere else in the world. For the 12th year in a row, healthcare has the highest average data breach cost of any industry at $10.10 million. And in 2022, it took an average of 277 days—about 9 months—to identify and contain a breach.

Data breaches occur because hackers want data. No mystery there. To avoid loss and costly consequences, companies need to protect their data before they’re breached. Again, that seems obvious. But breaches keep happening and data keeps being stolen. Until companies can say, “we were breached here…we know specifically which data was affected…we know how these teams use that data…and we know exactly how that affects other areas of the business”—companies will continue to be average victims.

But there’s no need to be an “average” victim. There are ways to avoid or minimize the cost of breach consequences. Proactive protection begins with zero trust data surveillance. Working at the binary level, data surveillance delivers visibility into the data itself. It starts by identifying and fingerprinting your business-critical data. Companies implementing data surveillance know—for the first time—where data originates, its purpose, and its level of sensitivity. They can see it move, they know where it goes and how it’s used so they clearly understand its relationship with, and impact on, other data and users. With this intelligence, teams can accurately assess the cost and consequences of this data being breached.

Real-time data surveillance monitoring establishes a baseline of normal data patterns by analyzing incoming data, data in motion, and data leaving the environment. It continuously updates the baseline of normal activity so that suspicious activity and threats are alerted and stopped in real time. With documented data “chains of custody,” teams can make informed decisions and proactively implement steps to contain any fallout of a breach.

Using data surveillance to avoid becoming an “average” breach victim ripples across the entire business. It:

  • Minimizes brand damage: One-third of the total cost is felt through brand damage and loss of business. When you can identify suspicious actions on your data, you can stop the preliminary attack tactics that lead to a breach.
  • Prevents stolen IP: Losing patents, engineering designs, trade secrets, and other confidential information can devastate a company. Having real-time, all-the-time visibility into specific business-critical data delivers insight for closing gaps, identifying vulnerabilities, and setting policy.
  • Helps avoid downtime: Downtime equals lost revenue, loss of client goodwill, and other impacts. By significantly reducing risk and having the ability to quickly remediate attacks on data, downtime is avoided or minimized.
  • Helps minimize legal fees: One of the largest costs of a breach, hefty legal fees to settle compliance fines, class action suits, and other litigation are often still being incurred more than two years after a breach. In the event of a breach, a data chain of custody provides specific information for supporting legal efforts.
  • Documents cyber insurability: Breached companies have suffered 200% increases in premiums, new coverage limitations, or being dropped. Implementing data surveillance now provides insurers with a specific roadmap of your data and the measures in place to protect and remediate it. With this, cyber insurers can better assess risk for calculating coverage and premiums in your favor.
  • Preempts ransomware: Ransom demands keep climbing and payment doesn’t guarantee data decryption, return of stolen data, or future immunity. Ransomware attacks start months in advance of the ransom demand. Data surveillance immediately identifies unusual data access, activity, and communications so that tactics can be shut down before attackers infiltrate other systems.

The cost of consequences is too high to settle for average. Schedule a meeting or read any of our Solution Briefs to see how data surveillance changes the game for protecting data.