The Ponemon Institute in conjunction with PGP Corporation has announced the results of the first ever global study into the costs that are incurred by business following a data breach. It makes for good, or should that be bad, reading as far as Australia is concerned.
While globally the average cost of a data breach came to a bloody huge US $3.43 million for 2009, or US $142 per individual compromised customer record, the really interesting stuff starts happening when you look at the figures on a per country basis.
Those doing business in the USA were faced with by far and away the highest costs amongst the world powers analysed, with the average breach costing US $6.75 million courtesy of strict breach notification laws.
Indeed, the report tends to suggest that in those countries with no data breach disclosure laws, business will face much lower costs as a result of poor security practise. Australia, for example, was the cheapest place to do business if your security is poor with an average of US $1.83 million per breach.
The results change a little if you look at the costs in terms of an average cost per compromised record, with the USA still being most expensive on US $204 per record but Australia slipping off the top of the cheap list on US $114 just losing out to the UK with a measly US $98 per record.
Please see next page for a full breakdown of the report results by country and our conclusion as to why being cheap is actually pretty nasty for Australian business.