With cyber security defences evolving in recent years, this has subsequently led to cyber criminals developing equally sophisticated plans. As a result, this has caused the average cost of a data breach to rocket. For most businesses, it’s not a matter of if, but when a data breach will occur and one of the best ways to prevent a data breach is to learn more about and understand why they happen. 

Every cyber security incident where another party gains unauthorised or forced access to another’s data or information is a data breach. Whilst there are a number of factors that can cause a data breach, from employee mistakes to outdated security protection, a majority of breaches are intentional and are caused by cyber criminals. 

Whilst finding out the average cost of a data breach is difficult due to the different challenges that each business faces, the data breach landscape is growing at a huge rate. Let’s take a look at the average cost of a data breach and what you can do to protect your business. 


The average cost of a data breach – explained 

Data put together by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport last year shows that data breaches with material outcomes (where sensitive data, information or money was lost) cost medium and large businesses around £19,400 – up from £13,400 the year previous. When looking at data breaches for businesses of all sizes, the average cost of a data breach decreased to £4,200, which was a reduction of around 50% from 2021. 

However, the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport also warned that the real value and the average cost of data breaches may be going unreported as a result of “the lack of framework for financial impacts of cyberattacks”. Short-term costs (defined as any external payments made when dealing with the breach) cost around £1,650 when all business sizes were taken into account, however, this increases to £6,490 when looking only at medium and large businesses. 

On average, the cost of a data breach tends to be much higher than the costs calculated in the immediate aftermath following an attack. Reasons for this could be because calculating the costs of an attack, such as paying a ransom as a result of ransomware, is easier than having to accumulate long-term costs. Recent studies on the full costs of cyber security breaches have shown that businesses find it more difficult to consider indirect costs caused as a result of a breach. 


What else do we know about data breaches? 

The total number of businesses experiencing cyberattacks hasn’t changed, but the frequency has

It was found that, although the number of businesses reporting a data breach has largely remained the same, the frequency at which these businesses experience cyber breaches has increased. Around 31% of businesses claimed they were targeted by cyber criminals at least once a week last year and around one in five businesses said that they had a negative outcome as a result of a data breach. 

Even if businesses didn’t experience data loss or financial consequences as a result of a data breach, most will still feel the impact in some way or another, whether this is having to implement new cyber security measures or increase staff time in order to deal with the breach. With both the average cost of a data breach and frequency of them seeing increases, this highlights the importance of having cyber security measures in place.


Phishing attacks are the most common method used

Around 83% of businesses who identified a cyber threat said that they were targeted by a phishing attack, which makes this the most common cyber attack faced by businesses. A phishing attack is designed to steal user information and is often delivered through a malicious link in an email, leading the recipient to a site and prompting them to fill out their details. 

With phishing attacks, the most common form of breach used by cyber criminals, there is a strong correlation between the average cost of a data breach and the methods needed to rectify the damage caused.

This makes staff training and vigilance highly important, so that people can spot the signs of phishing attacks and save businesses from falling victim to this type of cyber threat. At CYFOR Secure, we offer phishing simulations for businesses where we can teach your employees how to spot the signs of phishing attacks and you can rest assured that your employees are aware of the threats phishing attacks can have on your business.


Understanding cyber security vulnerabilities

With the average cost of a data breach growing year on year, it is recommended that cyber security is no longer an add-on or second thought. Instead, it should be embedded in your daily processes and cyber attack prevention. Cyber security requires careful and considered assessment of your business’s current needs, as well as taking into account any future cyber security requirements, which our team can help with. 

Most cyber security breaches occur as a result of failures in your processes or by human error. This means that, when it comes to protecting your business against cyber security, investment and training are important. Here at CYFOR Secure, we offer different proactive cyber security solutions and management, tailored to suit your business. For more information, contact CYFOR Secure today.