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Middle East witnesses higher cost per data breach than global average

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The average cost per data breach incident in the Middle East is higher than the global average and it is the second-highest after the US, according to a new study.

Sponsored by IBM Security and conducted by the Ponemon Institute in 17 countries between August 2019 and April 2020, the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report states that the average cost per data breach in the US stands at $8.64m, followed by the Middle East at $6.52m and Canada at $4.50m.

In 2019, the average cost was $5.97m in the Middle East.

A breach is defined as an event in which an individual’s name and a medical record and/or a financial record or debit card is potentially put at risk — either in electronic or paper format.

The global average cost per breach is $3.86m.

In contrast, Latin American and Brazilian organisations had the lowest average total cost at $1.68m and $1.12m, respectively.

In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, breaches cost companies $188 per lost or stolen record on average, which represents an increase of 8.5% from 2019 while the cost of a data breaches in these two countries has risen by 9.4% over the past year.

(Image credit: IBM)

Root cause: Malicious attacks

In the Middle East, malicious attacks were the root cause for 59% of the data breaches while system glitches at 24% and human errors at 17%.

In the Middle East, 23% of the organisations have fully deployed security automation while 40% have partially deployed security automation and 37% haven’t deployed security automation at all.

In the study, the average time to identify a breach was 207 days and the average time to contain was 73 days, for a combined 280 days.

In 2019 the average time to identify was 206 days and the average time to contain was 73 days, for a combined 279 days.

In the Middle East, the average time to identify a breach in 2020 was 269 days and the average time to contain was 100 days, for a combined 369 days compared to 381 days in 2019.

The Middle East comes second, after Brazil (380 days), to identify and contain a data breach and healthcare were found to incur the highest per-record cost of a data breach, followed by financial services and then technology.


05 Aug 2020



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