Cost of data breaches in education hits all-time high: $245 per record

A study by the Ponemon Institute revealed the high cost of a data breach in the United States, writes Dian Schaffhauser for Campus Technology.

To conduct the study, researchers interviewed IT, compliance, and information security professionals from 419 organizations in 12 countries, including some from education.

.edu addresses are at high risk for cyber theft

Researchers found that the cost of a data breach in U.S. education is higher than the cost in other sectors and countries. The average cost per compromised record at U.S. education organizations is $245, compared with an average cost of $225 across all U.S. organizations and just $200 across education organizations worldwide.

Based on the report, Schaffhauser suggests several factors that may have contributed to the higher cost in education. For example, she notes that extensive use of mobile platforms increased cost by an average of $6.50 per record and compliance failures added $19.30 per record.

Schaffhauser also cites data from the report showing that education organizations take more time than other organizations to identify and contain data breaches. Worldwide, education organizations take an average of 221 days to identify breaches, compared with 155 days for financial organizations. Similarly, education organizations take 83 days on average to contain a breach, compared with 34 days for financial organizations.

The report recommends a few ways for all organizations, including those in education, to lower the cost of a data breach. For example, organizations with an incident response team had a lower average cost by $19 per record. Organizations with encryption saw costs that were on average $16 less per record, and those with robust training programs saw costs that averaged $12.50 less per record (Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, 7/18; Ponemon report, accessed 7/20).

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