How much does it cost to recover from a cyber security breach?
Nowadays, the mere mention of the words cyber security breach are enough to make any chief executive break out in a cold sweat, as these ever-more sophisticated attacks can damage an organisation’s reputation and finances beyond repair.
In recent months, high-profile attacks on telecommunications provider TalkTalk and online dating site Ashley Madison have kept cyber security breaches at the forefront of the public consciousness, with the potential loss of sensitive data impacting customers’ trust in brands.
However, arguably even more damaging is the cost of recovering from a security breach – something that can affect a business beyond repair.
The cost of a cyber breach in the US
Exactly how much does a cyber attack tend to cost?
According to figures published by the UK government in June 2015, the average cost of a cyber security breach for a big business comes in at £1.46 million, marking a significant rise from the £600,000 recorded in 2014.
The most serious breaches can require as much as £3.14 million to put right, due to the expense of compensation, new security measures and the hiring of cyber security specialists to prevent similar attacks from occurring in the future.
For TalkTalk, the predicted total cost of recovery is expected to be in the region of £35 million, as it struggles to deal with a significant drop in share prices, as well as compensating customers and losing many of those who had been loyal to the company.
Concerningly, the government’s Information Security Breaches Survey 2015 found that 90 per cent of UK organisations had experienced a data breach between 2014 and 2015, with 75 per cent of these targeted at sensitive staff information.
Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey commented: “The UK’s digital economy is strong and growing, which is why British businesses remain an attractive target for cyber attack and the cost is rising dramatically.
“Businesses that take this threat seriously are not only protecting themselves and their customers’ data but securing a competitive advantage.”
Andrew Miller, cyber security director at PwC, added: “Breaches are becoming increasingly sophisticated, often involving internal staff to amplify their effect and the impacts we are seeing are increasingly long-lasting and costly to deal with.”
US cyber attack costs
Further research from Kaspersky Lab looked in more detail at the cost of recovering from a cyber security breach, finding that in the US, the average sum that firms need to pay out following an IT attack is $551,000 (£373,878). This adds weight to Mr Vaizey’s theory that the growing UK economy is attracting an increasing number of hackers to Britain, leaving the country with seemingly more expensive damage than the US.
Although financial trouble itself was not cited as the biggest consequence of a cyber security breach, businesses instead reported that loss of access to important information, reputational damage and loss of ability to trade as the three greatest effects, which all relate to financial challenges.
Increased demand for cyber security professionals
With all of this in mind, cyber security professionals are in ever-increasing demand around the world.
IT threats develop in sophistication all of the time, meaning it can be a challenge for organisations to keep their skillsets up to date with the best ways to protect themselves. Yet by taking action to hire an expert in the field, they can invest in preserving important data alongside safeguarding their future.
In fact, the latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation showed that IT and computing specialists were the most in demand workers in the UK during November 2015, as a growing number of firms strive to protect their reputations and finances from the latest threats.
Our Market Reports combine a review of the prevailing conditions in the security recruitment market with the results of a comprehensive compensation survey, covering both permanent and contract security practitioners.