Like gas, the price of a data breach is rising

Markiyan Malko |

March 11, 2011

Depending on where you live in the United States, gas is reaching the $4 or $5 a gallon mark. That’s peanuts compared to the price of a data breach for a U.S. company. The cost associated with a data breach is now $7.2 million on average per organization that suffers a breach, according to a research report by the Ponemon Institute.

According to the report, the cost of a data breach in 2010 is up 7% over 2009, when the cost to a U.S. company was $6.8 million. Every year since 2006, the cost has increased.

The findings state those companies who rapidly responded to a breach suffered more financially, while those who responded more slowly didn’t get hit as hard. Those companies who responded quickly to an incident paid on average $268 per record, compared to $174 per record for organizations that are slower to respond.

Encryption, the process of transforming information by use of an algorithm so that it is unreadable, has become the most popular form of protecting personal data. An especially susceptible point in the process of transferring data when paying by plastic is when card data is sent from a card reader to the POS or POS to in-store database. Merchant Warehouse’s MerchantWARE solution encrypts data at the card reader, completely eliminating the threat. With MerchantWARE, merchants never actually store or transmit any unencrypted credit card information.

While savvy thieves find new ways to circumvent the safeguards that have been put in place to protect data, organizations that handle personal, sensitive data must make sure they’re using the most updated