The average cost of a data breach in the Gulf region was almost 20% higher in 2014 compared to 2013, rising from $108.5 to $122 per instance, a study from the Ponemon Institute has shown.
The Gulf News website notes that this dramatic increase is indicative of how new technologies also harbour new vulnerabilities and organisations need to protect themselves against such attacks, despite a lack of IT talent in the region and rising data security costs.
The average total organisational cost of data breaches in the region increased from $3.11 million last year to $3.8 million this year. This amount ($3.8 million) was also the average organisational cost of data breaches around the world, with 350 companies from 11 countries recording the same figure. This is an increase of 23% on a global scale compared to 2013.
Specific sectors that tended to suffer from higher than average costs stemming from data breaches were services, financial, technology and energy. Sectors that experienced a lower than average cost stemming from data breaches were the public sector, retail and transportation.
Within the last year, the average cost of detection and escalation of data breaches rose from $350,000 to $680,000. This can be put down to more sophisticated cyber criminals better understanding how to target such organisations.
In order to better tackle increasing threats from cyber criminals, businesses should start looking at encryption services, incident response plans and insurance protection, said Tamer Aboualy, security practice lead at IBM Middle East & Africa. More businesses have been using these tactics in the region; encryption use has increased by 6% year-on-year and the use of access management solutions has grown by 5% year-on-year.
These are hopefully encouraging signs that IT security is becoming more of a priority in the region, Aboualy concluded.