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by Sean Killcarr, in Trucks at Work

serverEnsuring the security of electronic data may not seem high on the list of trucking priorities, but in many ways it should be; especially as carriers large and small alike will rely on more and more digital transfers of information in their daily operational lives, whether they want to or not.

To that end, it’s worth thinking about how costly a data breach could be to a trucking firm’s bottom line now and in the future.

For some perspective on that subject, check out the Ponemon Institute’s ninth annual Cost of Data Breach Study: A Global Analysis report; an endeavor sponsored by IBM.

According to this study of 314 companies spanning 10 countries – including the U.S., Germany, France, Brazil, and Japan – the average consolidated total cost of a data breach increased 15% in the last year to $3.5 million. The study also found that the cost incurred for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information increased more than nine percent to a consolidated average of $145.

For purposes of this research, the Ponemon Institute considered a data breach to occur when sensitive, protected or confidential data is lost or stolen and put at risk.

"The goal of this research is to not just help companies understand the types of data breaches that could impact their business, but also the potential costs and how best to allocate resources to the prevention, detection and resolution of such an incident," noted Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute.

[Below you can watch Ponemon discuss the growing cyber security risks regarding data in a short video interview.]

Here are some other scary findings from the Institute’s data breach report:
  • The most costly breaches occurred in the U.S. and Germany at $201 and $195 per compromised record, respectively. The least expensive data breaches were in India and Brazil at $51 and $70, respectively.
  • Root causes of data breaches differ among countries. Countries in the Arabian region and Germany had more data breaches caused by malicious or criminal attacks. India had the most data breaches caused by a system glitch or business process failure. Human error was most often the cause in the UK and Brazil.
  • The most costly data breaches were those caused by malicious and criminal attacks. The U.S. and Germany paid the most at $246 and $215 per compromised record, respectively. These types of data breaches were least costly for companies in India and Brazil at $60 and $77 per compromised record, respectively.
  • A strong security posture was critical to decreasing the cost of data breach. On average, companies that self-reported they had a strong security posture were able to reduce the cost by as much as $14 per record.
  • The involvement of business continuity management reduced the cost of data breach by an average of almost $9 per record.
  • The appointment of a chief information security officer (CISO) to lead the data breach incident response team reduced the cost of a breach by more than $6.

"Clearly, malicious insiders and criminal attacks are a growing concern for businesses, especially when we consider how persistent data has become in the age of cloud and mobility," noted Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM’s Security Services division, in the report.

"A data breach can result in enormous damage to a business that goes way beyond the financials,” Lovejoy stressed. “At stake is customer loyalty and brand reputation."

[Identification or “ID” security is a top concern as well in this area and David Rockvam, VP-product management and marketing communications with Entrust talks about how to “raise the bar” where ID security is concerned in the video clip below.]

Consistent with previous studies, the Ponemon Institute found that the most common cause of a data breach is a malicious insider or criminal attack and in its survey asked companies what worries them most about security incidents:
  • The greatest threats to the companies in this study are malicious code and sustained probes.
  • Only 38% of companies have a security strategy to protect its IT infrastructure. A higher percentage (45%) has a strategy to protect their information assets.
  • Malicious code and sustained probes have increased the most. Companies estimate that they will be dealing with an average of 17 malicious codes each month and 12 sustained probes each month.
  • Unauthorized access incidents have mainly stayed the same and companies estimate they will be dealing with an average of 10 such incidents each month.
A final thought where the subject of “cyber security” is concerned: how does any company, much less a trucking firm, go about educating itself on this subject?

To that end, Rick Howard, chief security officer for Palo Alto Networks offers up what he loosely calls the “cybersecurity canon of books” that those involved in cyber security should read at least once.

One thing is for certain: cyber security threats are only going to grow with time for trucking.

To read more blog posts from Sean Kilcarr's award-winning blog, "Trucks at Work", click here.