The average cost of a data breach has risen to $4m, according to a survey of 400 companies worldwide, underlining the financial implications of cyber attacks.
IBM Security's data found that the cost per breach has risen by 29 per cent since 2013, while the number of incidents has risen by a huge 64 per cent as hackers continue to target big business.
The average cost of a breach per record is now $158, although it varies by sector. Healthcare tops the table at $555 per record, up $100 since 2013.
IBM’s research also found that a solid incident response procedure can save as much as $400,000 per incident.
This is down to being able to react quickly on incident forensics, media communication, legal costs and dealing with data protection regulators.
Ted Julian, vice president of IBM's Resilient division, explained that companies should plan for a worst case scenario so that any cyber attack can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
"The amount of time, effort and costs that companies face in the wake of a data breach can be devastating, and unfortunately most companies still don't have a plan in place to deal with this process efficiently," he said.
"While the risk is inevitable, having a coordinated and automated incident response plan, as well as access to the right resources and skills, can make or break how much a company is affected by a security event."
The findings underline the growing problem of data breaches. The UK government said recently that two-thirds of firms have been attacked in the past 12 months.
The past few weeks have also seen huge data dumps of customer records from several hacks on sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and Myspace. Users of these sites have been urged to change their passwords in the aftermath of the leaks.
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