The global population is beginning to realise that information is fast-becoming the currency of the future. We trade information on a daily basis, both personal data and company information, often sensitive and likely to be valuable. However, many still lack an understanding of the real cost of information and the financial impact of a data breach.

Did you know…?

Forbes predict that data loss will cost the US economy $290 billion by 2018 which equates to 1.6% of GDP. To put this into context for individual organisations, this suggests the average company can expect to lose 1.6% of revenue each year. In dollars, this means a $500 million company can expect to lose $8 million purely as a result of data loss.

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011, the global cost of online crime is $388 billion. This includes actual financial losses plus the time spent dealing with the attack and is higher than the cost to the global economy of trafficking marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It is also more than 100 times the global annual expenditure of UNICEF ($3.65bn).

What’s it to you?

According to research for Identity Theft 911, more than 70% of US consumers who responded said that they would no longer do business with a company that exposed their personal information as a result of a data security breach.

Often, consumers fail to appreciate the monetary value of their own identity until it’s too late. It’s essential that organisations stress to their customers the responsibility held by both parties to protect all sensitive data they handle.

The consequences of a data breach are potentially irreparable; an individual’s financial livelihood can be destroyed as a result of identity theft, and in addition to the reputational damage threatening a company which suffers a breach, loss of future custom means businesses can expect a significant drop in revenue even if their reputation recovers.

Take advantage

Demonstrating that your organisation has more transparent security policies than your competitors could give you the edge; according to a recent PwC Health Research Institute survey.

The results indicate that 33% of your competitor’s market share is up for grabs; out of 1,000 participants in the US, one third said that if cost, quality and access were equal, they would select one hospital over another if they demonstrated clearer privacy and security policies.

The value of information is real, and so is the cost of losing it; enable your organisation, your employees, your customers and your families to protect theirs by providing clear advice and guidance.