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Which Data Costs the Most in a Breach?

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on September 15, 2022

Healthcare data breaches will cost industry $4 billion by year's end, and 2020 is poised to be worse | Healthcare Finance News

Data is currently the most important money. Regardless of what those who already have it want to do with it, data drives breaches, information operations, analytics, and behavior identification. What type of data incurs the most expenses in a breach? is the issue we set out to address. That is actually a challenging question. Depending on the details of your company, we’ll need to consider a wide range of elements.

Do you want to make some money? To make a company plan, establish intellectual property, and run a marketing campaign, you need some data. A desire to commit a crime? Data can be encrypted and held for ransom, and the owner’s emotions can be used. Want to incite geopolitical unrest? Change some code to destroy a business.

Regardless of the source or nature of the data, each of these actions is a downstream effect of data generation: financial transactions, intellectual property theft, use of personal information for marketing purposes, etc.

Consider this: you are probably not paying anything if you don’t have any data. On the other hand, you cannot produce a return, legal or illegal, without data. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep in mind the entire data life cycle, from creation to deletion. You can estimate the expenses of a breach to you by following the phases along the life cycle.

What Determines Value in a Breach?

Belloq, Indy’s adversary in the movie “Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark,” takes out a pocket watch and declares, “It’s worthless. Ten dollars from a street seller. However, if I take it and bury it in the sand for a millennium, it turns into something priceless, much like Ark. For it, men will kill. men like myself and you.”

In this instance, the pocket watch’s value is determined by the passage of time and the possibility of its future scarcity. These elements determine value.

You are likely to misappropriate the value of the data you could lose after a breach, in either direction if you are not paying attention to the elements that drive value (too high or too low). The value may be derived from your operation’s customer information, trade secrets, policy documents, or business strategies. It’s important to establish that value as a first step.

Don’t let this boat go by. If the initial valuation is incorrect, everything downstream will probably be incorrect.

Who Determines Value?

Value is also strongly influenced by who is setting it. The same set of data can be extremely valuable to you but completely meaningless to me. After all, money to one person is garbage to another. Remember that the price may also be determined by a third party. For instance, a regulator may believe that specific data types have inherent or increased value (or risk). You might be constrained by it, depending on the sector of business you are in. You could not think the information is valuable in your thinking. However, a regulatory body may stipulate that you must secure that data if you want to conduct business in this area.

What is the Value to You for Breach?

Personal information has, of course, been a huge juicy target for the majority of the significant breaches documented, but it is unknown whether this has resulted in the most expensive breaches. Many of the businesses that had these breaches are still operational today. Even when millions of data are at risk, larger groups can typically replace some employees who take the blame and strike a settlement. However, a smaller company, which may be less at fault for data breaches, is more likely to go out of business if its cash flow is interrupted or it faces unaffordable legal costs. That’s merely another element that affects valuation.

The drivers that determine value must be understood to estimate the cost of a breach. And that is just the beginning.

What’s in Your Vault?

Consider for a moment that you have successfully identified what creates value with high confidence. The important next step is to determine if you already possess that critical information. Try to picture these three states:

  • Known knowns: I am aware of the kinds of data I own and their locations.
  • Known unknowns: I am aware of the kind of data I own, but I am unsure of their whereabouts.
  • Unknown unknowns: I have no idea what kind of information I have or where it is.

See the issue? To calculate the cost of a breach, data detection and classification are important. If you have established value, categorization, and location, there are some proactive actions you can take. Here is a quick list of some of the advantages:

  • Your infrastructure and architecture can be planned around specific data needs, such as legal requirements, provenance, place of residency, segmentation compliance, and so on.
  • It is simpler to comply with group policies, access controls, and encryption standards.
  • You can view the required and allowed responses, as well as the distinction between financial and PHI disclosures. Always keep in mind that the skills you will need to respond to a breach are part of the cost. A privacy attorney, Securities and Exchange Commission expert, or someone who is knowledgeable about regulations might be needed.
  • Acquire the capacity to conduct quantitative risk estimates. (For instance, the projected cost will be y if I hold this type of data in this area and there is a breach and I lose x records.)
  • Keeping in mind your backup and restoration requirements can help you develop your recovery strategy.

Simply said, unless you are aware of the contributing elements, you cannot assess the impact or cost of a breach. But once you do, the rest of your activities become much simpler.

Who Discovers and Maintains What’s in the Vault?

Data discovery and maintenance is the ultimate team sport when it comes to data classification and handling. The teams in charge of legal, finance, and R&D may advise you on what is valuable and what would be a liability to keep or lose. You might get advice from the security and development teams on how and where to protect important data. What has been impacted by the breach will probably be reported to you by the risk, resilience, and incident response teams. It may be up to the infrastructure and compliance teams to decide what needs to be off-boarded, destroyed, or maintained in light of both normal business operations and the fact that data storage has a price tag of its own.

What’s the overall meaning? Know your business, it’s that easy. There isn’t just one broad solution to this. The most expensive data is the type that is most expensive to you, just like “the best meal” is the things you enjoy.

Do you want to know Which Data Costs the Most in a Breach? Visit us here.

You can also read about Cybersecurity in our course here.


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