Data Breach costs are increasing – what’s the impact of COVID?

Data breaches have far-reaching consequences, causing financial losses and long-lasting reputational damage. Despite increasing worldwide spending on IT security products and services, breaches and malicious attacks continue to grow.  As organizations try to recover from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these breaches are dramatically impacting the bottom line.

A recent report published by IBM Security, Cost of A Data Breach Report 2020, revealed that worldwide, the cost of a data breach is going up. The research shows that the average total cost of a data breach increased in 12 of the 16 countries and regions studied in both 2019 and 2020. Of all 17 regions studied for the report, the US had the highest data breach costs at an average of $8.64 million, with healthcare the hardest-hit industry:

Remote working is viewed as major security issue with 76% of respondents saying remote work would increase the time to identify and contain a data breach and 70% saying it would increase the cost of a data breach.

The report calculated that it would cost an average $137,000 extra for each data breach due to remote working.  However, the report uses data from August 2019 to April 2020, and therefore does not take account of the full impact of COVID, which means final numbers are likely to be even higher.


Types of data breaches

The report found that the prime cause of data breaches were malicious attacks at 52%, followed by human error and system glitches.


Security automation solutions

The report cites the greatest reduction in data breach costs for those organisations that have deployed Security automation solutions — including AI, analytics and orchestration — and incident response (IR) plans.  The average total cost of a data breach to businesses without security automation was $6.03 million, more than double the average of $2.45 million for businesses that had fully deployed security automation. The number of businesses using artificial intelligence platforms and automated breach orchestration, rose from 15% in 2018 to 21% in the 2020.

Automation also helped companies reduce the lifecycle of a breach by 74 days from 308 to 234 days as compared to companies with no security automation deployment.  This resulted in one of the final report recommendations being to invest in SOAR:


The report includes a handy calculator, which allows you to select criteria to show the average cost of data breaches to organizations in your industry, factoring in additional elements such as country, AI platforms and incident response.  Download the report to access the calculator or for further details.


data breach costs

For more information on how SOAR can help you manage alerts and incidents, and achieve better IT security please contact us or call us on 0845 625 9025.