Data breaches can cost £2.3 million for big companies

Data breaches can cost £2.3 million for big companies [Image: Matej Moderc via iStock]

Large companies experiencing data breaches can face average costs of £2.3 million, according to research by PwC.

Small companies face average costs of £190,000 for a data breach, said PwC. The number of small companies experiencing a data breach rose by 14 per cent last year, it was also revealed.

The number of large companies suffering data breaches also rose by nine per cent over the same period. The cost of data breaches to these businesses increased from £800,000 in 2014 to £2.3 million in 2015.

According to the research, which was carried out for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), 11 per cent of respondents changed the nature of their business as a result of their worst breach.

Nearly nine out of ten large organisations surveyed said they have suffered some form of security breach, which PwC said suggests that “these incidents are now a near certainty”.

A total of 90 per cent of large companies said they had experienced a data breach, with 69 per cent being attacked by an unauthorised outsider in 2015.

Companies are now also facing the prospect of fines for non-compliance with the incoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which have been imposed across the whole European Union (EU).

All firms holding any information on any EU citizen must adhere to the regulations, which will come into force in May 2018.

A total of 72 per cent of companies said that where the security policy was poorly understood, they had staff-related data breaches.

When questioned about the worst breach suffered in 2015, half of all organisations surveyed said the cause was inadvertent human error. This was a rise of 31 per cent from the previous year.

Despite these figures, 14 per cent of respondents said they have never briefed their organisation’s board on security threats.