The Cost of a Data Breach Nearly Doubles

Companies beware: the cost of a data breach has nearly doubled in the past five years, from $6.46 million in 2010 to $12.9 million in 2015, according to CenturyLink's U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey.

In addition to the financial losses that are sharply on the rise, companies are also faced with concerns such as a damaged reputation and loss of trust—which, in turn, can also have an impact on a company's bottom line.

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The survey turned up some more startling facts, such as an overwhelming 77% of respondents saying they've detected a security event within the past year.

“Customers and users place an enormous amount of trust in the companies with whom they do business," says Stuart Mills, CenturyLink regional director ANZ. "A single breach can damage that trust forever. And, if intellectual property is leaked it could sound the death knell for any organization.”

CenturyLink highlights six ways security can have a negative financial impact on your business in its eBook, “Six Ways Security Can Cost You.” Here are some specifics:

1. External Threats

According to CenturyLink, the sheer number of external threats is growing and the speed at which threats are increasing is "exponential." Furthermore, many organizations that have already been breached remain unaware of the circumstances—which emphasizes the importance of staying proactive and identifying the first signs of a potential breach.

2. Internal Threats

Then, there are internal threats to consider. When security policies are not enforced, there's a greater likelihood that employees can leak or share sensitive information.

It's helpful to evaluate your security policy by asking certain questions, such as: Do your employees download whatever software they want on their work computers? Can people access sensitive corporate data on their personal devices? Do workers conduct business using their smart phones?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your company should have a security policy in place to help minimize internal threats.

3. Untrained staff

Employees should remain informed about their company's security policies and implement them. This includes training employees about security measures, as well as recognizing which actions pose a security risk and the early signs of a potential attack on technology.

4. Compliance

Companies should ask themselves: Would you pass an audit for governmental compliance with security policies? According to CenturyLink, the majority of businesses are unsure or are not aware of specific compliance standards within their industry.

5. Choose the Right Partners

Selecting the right partner or partners to help with your security is imperative to help keep your data safe and work within your set budget.

6. Physical Security

Companies should also be sure their physical security is in place. That means protecting their hardware, programs, networks, data and so on.

"The physical management of data centers includes all aspects of the physical security, including security policies and procedures, security officer staffing, access control systems, video surveillance systems, standards compliance, and physical security designs and improvements within the data centers," says CenturyLink, adding that you should be sure the data center you choose complies with standards—and that you get annual audits.

Now is more important a time than ever to implement steps to better bolster company security. With the cost of a data breach sharply rising, companies should focus on ways to better safeguard their corporate data to help minimize their chances of being impacted by a breach.

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