Cost of data loss hits worrying milestone

IT security firm McAfee has stated that identity theft and data loss are costing businesses around the world $1 trillion (628 billion) each year. Things are set to get even worse in 2010 if McAfee’s predictions come true, as it forecasts a 500 per cent rise in the number of data loss and theft incidences.

McAfee has suggested that the rise will include a huge surge in the number of malware infections and variants, of which 80 per cent would be designed to infiltrate and steal financial details of individuals and enterprises alike.

The indications are that the recession is largely to blame for the trend and cybercriminals are planning to target weakened, distracted firms that have not taken proper precautions to protect the data of their staff or clients.

IT security experts say that because of the complexity of the task of data protection, larger businesses are having to rely on multiple vendors to meet their needs and some can use the services of up to 200 different security firms.

However, according to a McAfee spokesperson, the credit crunch has forced some businesses to cut the costs of their data security budgets, resulting in many seeking fewer partners that claim to offer a more comprehensive solution in order to save money.

McAfee’s Jayson O’Reilly spoke out in favour of a centralised security system over a fragmented, compartmentalised one. Mr O’Reilly said that by allowing a single platform to control data at every point of its use, businesses would be able to iron out flaws in the security and concurrently reduce the administrative and managerial strain that data protection places on an organisation.

Mr O’Reilly also said that businesses had to look at options that were scalable and architecturally sound in order to ensure their relevance into the future. McAfee hopes that by adopting such platforms businesses, will be better equipped to conform to the requirements of industry data protection standards.

A research firm has predicted that the amount businesses spend on protecting their data and complying with regulations will rise to $1.7 billion (1 billion) by 2011.

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