Data and cyber security breaches make headlines worldwide, as associations and businesses fall victim to data theft and network intrusions. Despite this, some businesses and organisations are resistant to spending money upgrading their data protection practices and policies, and improving their security systems.

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Are security investments worth the money compared to data breach costs?

The cost of protection

Organisations and businesses are hesitant to announce publicly how much their cybersecurity spending is. There is difficulty in working out an average investment in security and data protection, where businesses also have an assortment of different requirements concentrated around cybersecurity.

The information security industry is currently booming, with organisations spending $81.6 billion on security in 2016, up 7.9 per cent in 2015.

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The cost of data breaches

There are huge financial consequences of a data breach. The average figure is thought to be $4 billion, through loss of personal information and sensitive or corporate data.

There is also additional publicity and damage to reputation, as the NHS saw earlier this year.

Most of the cost of data breaches is concerned with resolution. Businesses must pay court fees, compliance fines, as well as investigation and forensic operations. Investment must also be made in identity theft prevention for employees and customers.

Business costs are directly impacted by turnover of consumers, resulting in the company needing to spend increased amounts on customer acquisition, as reputational damage of a data breach lasts a long time.

What are the solutions?

It appears that organisations and businesses are spending inefficiently, on security that simply does not work.

The average cost of a stolen record is between $145 and $158, with health card records costing more, at approximately $355 a record. According to the Identity Theft Resource Centre, data breaches increased by 40 per cent in 2016, with hacking, phishing and skimming attacks the leading symptoms of data breach incidents.

Every organisation must put forward a business and user case for security solutions, or investment will be spent on a tool that is ineffective and does not meet the needs of the organisation.

There are various monitoring software applications and cybersecurity and physical firewall offerings, but businesses must ensure they are successful in the most important element: data protection.a