Cyberattacks increasingly plague businesses and government organizations, resulting in significant financial impact, despite widespread awareness, according to a report released by Hewlett-Packard. The study found that recovery and detection are the most costly internal activities, suggesting a significant cost-reduction opportunity for organizations that are able to automate detection and recovery through enabling security technologies.
Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study revealed that the median annualized cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of organizations was $5.9 million per year, with a range of $1.5 million to $36.5 million each year per organization. This represents an increase of 56 percent from the median cost reported in the inaugural study published in July 2010.
"Instances of cybercrime have continued to increase in both frequency and sophistication, with the potential impact to an organization's financial health becoming more substantial," said Tom Reilly, vice president and general manager of HP's enterprise security, division. "Organizations in the most targeted industries are reducing the impact by leveraging security and risk management technologies, which is grounds for optimism in what continues to be a fierce fight against cybercrime."
The report found cyberattacks have become common occurrences. Over a four-week period, the organizations surveyed experienced 72 successful attacks per week, an increase of nearly 45 percent from last year. More than 90 percent of all cybercrime costs were caused by malicious code, denial of service, stolen devices and web-based attacks.
Cyberattacks can be costly if not resolved quickly. The average time to resolve a cyberattack is 18 days, with an average cost to participating organizations of nearly $416,000. This represents a nearly 70 percent increase from the estimated cost of $250,000 over a 14-day resolution period in last year's study. Results also showed that malicious insider attacks could take more than 45 days to contain.
The report also indicated deploying advanced security intelligence and risk management solutions can mitigate the impact of cyberattacks. Organizations that had deployed security information and event management (SIEM) solutions realized a cost savings of nearly 25 percent, resulting from the enhanced ability to quickly detect and contain cybercrimes. As a result, these organizations experienced a substantially lower cost of recovery, detection and containment than organizations that had not deployed SIEM solutions.
"As the sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks increases, so too will the economic consequences," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. "Figuring out how much to invest in security starts with understanding the real cost of cybercrime."