Healthcare data breach costs stay highest for 7th straight year

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A June 20 2017 benchmark study conducted by IBM and the Ponemon Institute reveals that for the 7th straight year, healthcare data breaches are the highest amongst surveyed business sectors.

This post will cover some significant takeaways from the data breach study.

In a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM, the survey found that the total cost for healthcare data breaches in organizations is $380 per record.

This is more than 2.5 times the global average cost across industries at $141 per record. The graphic below emphasizes this point.

Healthcare data breach costs stay highest for 7th straight year
Source: Ponemon Institute

The Ponemon report also delved into the main causes of breach incidents.

Not surprisingly, the primary cause of data breach incidents in the U.S. is malicious or criminal attacks (such as ransomware), accounting for 52% of healthcare breaches.

Human errors and system glitches account for the rest of the data breaches, making up 24% each.

Healthcare data breach costs stay highest for 7th straight year
Source: Ponemon Institute

Factors that raise cost of data breaches

The study listed the following factors that contributed to increasing costs of a data breach:

  1. Third party error
  2. Compliance failure
  3. Extensive migration to the cloud
  4. Lost of stolen devices
  5. Long MTTI (mean time to identify) and MTTC (mean time to contained)
  6. No disaster recovery plan

Factors that can reduce cost of data breaches

Besides informing the public about the financial implications of data breaches, the study also had some suggestions to reduce the cost of a data breach as well:

  1. Having an incident response team and plan in place
  2. Extensive employee training
  3. Extensive use of encryption
  4. Have data loss prevention in place
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About the author

Phuong Tran

Phuong Tran is a Carnegie Mellon University-Heinz College graduate with a degree in healthcare policy and management. In his spare time he enjoys discovering new restaurants and playing basketball.

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