Data Breach Statistics

While doing a little research, I came across some interesting statistics about data breaches. I just wanted to share them along with some of my thoughts.

71% of security breaches target small businesses

The majority of cyber attacks affect small businesses. The scary thing about this number is that the small businesses are usually the least equipped to protect against an attack. Most hackers will prey on the weak. With technology being so prevelant in all businesses, few can afford to NOT pay attention and do whatever they reasonably can to protect their business and assets.

69% of cyber attacks target retailers and restaurants

It shouldn't come as a shock that retailers and restaurants experience the most breaches, as many are small businesses. Considering the relative small size of most retail stores and restaurants, coupled with the amount of sensitive credit card data that passes through their networks, retailers and restaurants are a prime target for profit seeking attackers. For most retailers and restaurants IT security is an afterthought. Many don't even have an IT personnel. The days of thinking your business is too small to be a desireable target is far behind us.

28,765 records are stolen on average per data breach

When you consider that most breaches occur within a small business environment, 28,765 records being stolen per breach is a staggering number, especially given the fact that most businesses breached have fewer than 100 employees. Therefore, it would take a decent amount of time for an attacker to capture that many records as the cards are processed, which leads me to believe that businesses are storing more sensitive information than they should - more information than is safe. The more data your business retains, the more potential exposure your business has when a breach actually happens.

$188 is the average cost per record stolen in a data breach

When combined with the previous statistic of the average number of records stolen it is easy to see how expensive a breach can be, and showcases how costly storing all that extra data can be, especially when the benefit to your company is minimal or even non-existent.

Each year there are many reports published covering all the analysis and numbers for the past year, each of these is an interesting read. The numbers always vary a little between reports but one thing is clear - the existing threat of a data breach is not going away. As business owners, it is necessary to be aware of the potential for a data breach and make sure all the proper steps are followed in order to protect the security and integrity of your business and prepare for such a breach.

Sources: To give credit where credit is due, here are the sources for the statistics I included within this blog post.

  1. 2013 Global Security Report by Trustwave
  2. 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis by Ponemon Institute


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