Part of the cost of data security is the cost of what happens when there’s a data breach. That’s a high cost, and it illustrates just how important data security really is. The IBM Security– Ponemon Institute “2022 Cost of Data Breach” has been released. The new report calculated the global average cost of a data breach to be $4.35 million (an increase of 2.6% from 2021).

This research — conducted independently by Ponemon Institute, and sponsored, analyzed and published by IBM Security® — studied 550 organizations impacted by data breaches that occurred between March 2021 and March 2022.

What is a data breach?

A breach is defined as an event in which an individual’s name and a medical record, a financial record or both, or debit card are potentially put at risk. These records can be in electronic or paper format. Breaches included in the study ranged from 2,200 to 102,000 compromised records.

The breaches occurred across 17 countries and regions and in 17 different industries.

There is one particularly interesting insight from the report:

“The average cost of a data breach for critical infrastructure organizations studied was USD 4.82 million — USD 1 million more than the average cost for organizations in other industries. Critical infrastructure organizations included those in the financial services, industrial, technology, energy, transportation, communication, healthcare, education and public sector industries. Twenty-eight percent experienced a destructive or ransomware attack, while 17% experienced a breach because of a business partner being compromised.”

We know a business partner could be anyone- credit card processing, cloud storage, IT consultants, etc. But one of the most easily overlooked data security partners is the IT Recycler. It’s a small cost of data security that could save an organization from the huge cost of a data breach.

The Forgotten aspect of Data Security

The importance of finding a secure electronics recycler is sometimes overlooked because the electronic waste is considered decommissioned. The data, however, still resides on every hard drive. And on every computer, laptop, cell phone, printer, and other electronic devices.

Healthcare breach costs hit a new record high. The average breach in healthcare increased by nearly USD 1 million to reach USD 10.10 million. Healthcare breach costs have been the most expensive industry for 12 years running, increasing by 41.6% since the 2020 report. Financial organizations had the second highest costs — averaging USD 5.97 million — followed by pharmaceuticals at USD 5.01 million, technology at USD 4.97 million and energy at USD 4.72 million.

Eighty-three percent of organizations studied have experienced more than one data breach. We predict that this number is going to climb, now that so many businesses have adopted a remote friendly work environment.

What can you do to help minimize data security risks?

Find a disposal vendor with a secure chain of custody, proven track record, experience in the recycling industry, and one who physically destroys your hard drives and other data storage devices.