Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021

July 29, 2021

Now in its 17th year, the Cost of a Data Breach Report has become one of the leading benchmark reports in the cybersecurity industry. This report offers IT, risk management and security leaders a lens into dozens of factors that can increase or help mitigate the rising cost of data breaches.

With research conducted independently by the Ponemon Institute, this report – sponsored, analyzed, and published by IBM Security – studied 537 real breaches across 17 countries and regions and 17 different industries.

In the course of nearly 3,500 interviews, we asked dozens of questions to determine what organizations spent on activities for the discovery of and the immediate response to the data breach.

Other issues covered include:

  1. Initial attack vectors that were primarily responsible for causing the breaches
  2. The length of time it took the organizations to detect and contain their breaches
  3. The effects of incident response and security artificial intelligence (AI) and automation on the average total cost

Each year, we aim to renew the report to offer analysis that builds upon past years’ research while breaking new ground to keep up with changing technology and events to form a more relevant picture of the risks and strategies for securing data and responding to a breach. The 2021 edition of this report has new analysis related to the advancement of the zero trust approach, risks that continue to make cloud security essential, and the acceleration of remote working as a result of the pandemic.

The report is divided into six major sections, including:

  • This executive summary with key findings and comments about how data breach costs were calculated
  • A deep dive into the report’s complete findings, with dozens of charts
  • An exploration of a methodology for risk quantification
  • Security recommendations that can help organizations mitigate the financial impacts of a breach
  • Notes on the geographic, industry and company size characteristics of the organizations studied
  • And a more detailed explanation of the study’s methodology and limitations

IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute are pleased to present the results of the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

Years in this report refer to the year the report was published, not necessarily the year the breach occurred. Breaches in the 2021 report took place between May 2020 and March 2021.

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cloud-based, Data Breaches, security incidents