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The cost of a data breach in 2018

Trading in intellectual property and personal data is so widespread that someone invented a calculator that can estimate the potential harm to your own business.

Nearly 5 million data records are lost or stolen worldwide every single day, according to the Breach Level Index. That’s a staggering 58 records every second. High profile data breaches hit the headlines with worrying frequency. Just last year there were notable incidents at Equifax, Verizon, and Kmart, to name just the three biggest.

Smaller breaches go unreported, and it’s not unusual for exposure to be grossly underestimated in the initial aftermath. Example: the real depth of Yahoo’s 2013 breach only came to light last October. It was a revelation that proved very costly, immediately wiping out $350 million off Verizon’s acquisition payment.

All of that comes before we consider the undiscovered data breaches lurking in the shadows of server stacks waiting to unseat executives, tank stock prices and damage reputations.

Data breaches have the power to cause enormous disruption, because they can, and often do, end up costing a huge amount of money to sort out. But the cost varies wildly depending on the country, the industry, and a host of other specifics.