IBM Report: Cost of Data Breaches Soars to All-Time High During Pandemic


Data breaches currently cost businesses an average of $4.24 million USD, according to IBM’s recently published “Cost Of Data Breach Report”—the highest recorded in the report’s 17-year history. These costs include lost business, regulatory fines, and the price of clearing hackers out of networks. Many of these attacks come in the form of ransomware, in which highly organized hackers break into an organization’s network and hold its data hostage in exchange for money. 

Because the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to transition to remote work and migrate their data to the cloud, organizations are more vulnerable than ever to such attacks. According to the report, costs associated with cyber crime rose 10% during the pandemic. Breaches cost organizations over $1 million USD more on average when remote work was involved in a breach compared to when it was not ($4.96 USD vs. $3.89 million USD).

The good news? Companies that invested in proactive approaches to data security—including artificial intelligence, security analytics, and encryption tools—saved between $1.25 million and $1.49 million USD compared to organizations that did not. Furthermore, organizations with incident response teams who tested their response plans saved an average of $2.46 million USD. Organizations with proper training that adopted zero trust security — a method which assumes user identities or the network itself may already be under attack — saved an average of $1.76 million USD.

Is Your Workforce Prepared to Handle Cyber Attacks?

Given the rising wave of cyber crime, it is more important than ever to safeguard your organization’s data. Are your teams trained on the latest scenarios, threats, and tools for preventing and mitigating data breaches? If not, your data could be vulnerable.

Data Privacy Engineering

In addition to protecting your own network, your organization needs to ensure that the products and systems it develops take data privacy into account. This means limiting the data they collect, determining how your organization retains and uses that data, and ensuring you are applying all relevant regulations — which can all help build consumer trust. 

IEEE has partnered with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) to provide the IEEE | IAPP Data Privacy Engineering Collection to organizations. This unique training is designed to further educate your technical professionals tasked with developing products so they understand, maintain, and protect data privacy throughout the R&D process. The program provides access to tools that allow your technical workforce to implement policies and processes for designing products that take ethical personal data use into consideration right from the start. Learners will understand how to:

  • recognize the benefits and challenges of emerging technologies and how to use them while respecting customer privacy
  • establish organizational privacy practices for data security and control
  • learn practical knowledge and insights to address corporate privacy challenges
  • leverage the knowledge gained to develop products that take data privacy into account

Contact an IEEE Account Specialist today to learn more.


Rivero, Nicolás. (28 July 2021). Why the cost of getting hacked is higher than ever. Quartz. 

IBM Press Release. (28 July 2021). IBM Report: Cost of a Data Breach Hits Record High During Pandemic.

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