The cost of a data breach has risen for the third time in consecutive years to reach on average £1.9m, with malware-related hostile attacks causing significant damage, according to the latest annual research from Symantec.
The firm's 2010 UK Cost of A Data Breach report was previously undertaken by encryption firm PGP, which was bought by the security giant last year.
It found the cost of a data breach in the UK had risen 13 per cent year-on-year to an average of £71 per record.
The incident size ranged from 6,900 to 72,000 records, with the cost of each breach varying from £36,000 to £6.2m. The most expensive incident increased by £2.3m compared to 2009.
So-called hostile attacks were the most expensive for firms to deal with as they have to pay for things like detection and notification and also risk losing customers due to diminished trust.
These were also the fastest growing form of threats, increasing in volume by 22 per cent from the previous year, according to Symantec European product marketing director, Robert Mol.
"Breach costs are getting more expensive and the breaches are getting more effective because of the sophistication and the professionalism involved," he explained.
The most common form of threat was system failure, accounting for 37 per cent of incidents, while negligence came in second with 34 per cent.
However, an increasing concern for those surveyed was the threat from insecure mobile devices connecting to the corporate network. Some 64 per cent of those studied said they recognised this risk, while a whopping 84 per cent said that insecure mobile devices were likely to have accessed corporate data.
"Mobile devices are a growing cause of concern because of their ability to carry confidential information," said Mol.
"The consumerisation of IT means users can use their personal devices to become more efficient at work but in that case IT needs to protect these devices."
Encryption, data loss prevention and anti-malware tools are widely regarded as the major technological components of an effective data security strategy.
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