Faronics announced the results of a survey that explores how UK organisations think about information security and what motivates them to invest in data defences. The research, conducted by Ponemon Institute, revealed that 54 percent of respondents have experienced at least one data breach in the last year, with nearly a fifth (19 percent) experiencing more than four. Perhaps more worryingly, those that have so far avoided a data breach demonstrated a real lack of awareness of the financial and long-term damage that a breach can have on a company.
Of those who have suffered a data breach, nearly half (48 percent) stated that it damaged their reputation, while close to a third (30 percent) were forced to downsize due to a loss of customers. However, when asking those that have not suffered a breach, 58 percent believe brand reputation would be untarnished should they fall victim, while the majority (70 percent) do not think that the cost of customer acquisition would increase. In fact, the research shows that on average the cost of customer acquisition rose by £91,985 after a breach.
“Despite growing awareness of cybercrime in general, it seems that organisations are still oblivious to the full financial and reputational costs data breaches can bring,” said Dmitry Shesterin, VP of product management at Faronics. “As these results indicate, there is a serious discrepancy between what organisations perceive to be the real repercussions of failed security and what they actually are. While it’s no secret that organisations are becoming more concerned about the possibility of a data breach, it seems they are actually not as prepared as they should be. Existing business contracts are not the only thing at stake – so too are future revenue opportunities, shifting it from a short-term to a potentially long-term problem. What is also worrying is that a growing number of organisations are not just experiencing one data breach, they are experiencing three, four or even more, indicating that they are either failing to learn from past mistakes or are simply not taking the necessary steps to adequately protect the data that they have been entrusted with.”
The study also concluded that organisations are underestimating the long-term financial costs and time it takes to recover from a breach by up to a half, with those that have not suffered a data breach estimating a cost of just under £95,000 and a recovery period of four months. In reality, the research found that it is costing businesses £138,700 and taking over twice as long (9.3 months) to get back to normal.
“There really is no room for nonchalance when it comes to security strategies and it is completely irresponsible to assume the repercussions will be anything less than they are,” continued Shesterin. “Organisations need to know exactly what is at stake in order to readdress existing security practices and ensure they are as well protected as they can be. Businesses are without doubt more vulnerable than ever, and with figures such as these, it’s not surprising that many are unable to absorb the eye-watering cost and reputational damage that so often follows a breach.”
In terms of the threats keeping security teams awake at night, nearly two thirds of those surveyed (62 percent) consider BYOD to be the most serious threat to security, followed by a lack of data protection across devices (56 percent), insecure third parties and cloud providers (53 percent), and the proliferation of unstructured data (44 percent), indicating that although they are becoming essential to business development, new technology trends pose a growing cause for concern for many organisations. Perhaps a little surprising, widely publicised threats are still a relatively low priority, with only eight percent stating it is very likely that their organizations would be affected by cyber espionage and just 17 percent very likely to see APTs as a potential danger.
“With today’s complex security landscape, any organisation is a potential target,” continued Shesterin. “You only need to take a look at the high profile security incidents, such as those at HSBC, LinkedIn and Yahoo, to realise that no one is safe. As well as raising awareness of cybercriminal tactics, organisations must consider a more holistic approach to security. They cannot afford to become absent-minded and rely solely on traditional perimeter solutions, such as anti-virus, as today’s threats are just too sophisticated. Instead, organisations must consider a layered security approach involving application control and system restore methods, which offers a safety net should any malware make its way onto the network.”