Average cost of an Aussie data breach pinned at $3.35M

Average cost of an Aussie data breach pinned at $3.35M

An increase of 9.8 per cent year-on-year

Credit: ID 145894129 © Kanawat |

The financial impact of data breaches in Australia is roughly $2 million less than the global average, a new study has found.

Gauged over responses from 23 companies, the average total cost of a data breach in 2020 was priced at $3.35 million — an increase of 9.8 percent year-on-year.

This breaks down to $163 per lost or stolen record, according to IBM Security’s 2020 edition of the Cost of a Data Breach Report

Of the per record cost, the top three industries impacted were finance, technology and services.

Meanwhile the global average saw data breaches priced at US$3.86 million – approximately $5.39 million as of publishing – based on analysis of 524 organisations worldwide.

More than half of the breaches in Australia were caused by malicious attacks at 56 per cent, with system glitches and human error tying for the second-highest cause at 22 per cent each.

Malicious attack breaches were also more financially heavy, costing organisations on average $3.74 million, as opposed to system glitches, at $2.90 million, and human error, at $2.82 million.

Furthermore, the timeframe for the identification of breaches increased from 200 days in 2019 to 211 days in 2020. Similarly, the containment timeframe also increased from last year's 81 days to this year's 85 days.

However, the timeframe for malicious attacks were below the average, at 179 days to identify and 46 days to contain, as were system glitch breaches, at 184 and 74 days, respectively. Meanwhile human error breaches were above the average at 223 and 93 days, respectively.

Wendi Whitmore, vice president of IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence, said, based off of the global results, businesses that had invested in automated technologies had the advantage when it came to mitigating the impact of data breaches.

“At a time when businesses are expanding their digital footprint at an accelerated pace and security industry’s talent shortage persists, teams can be overwhelmed securing more devices, systems and data,” she said.

“Security automation can help resolve this burden, not only enabling a faster breach response but a significantly more cost-efficient one as well.”

As a result,  global businesses that used security automation technologies saw breach costs cut by more than half – from US$6.03 million down to US$2.45 million.

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