Calculate the Cost of A Data Breach

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The worst-case scenario happens: Your organisation suffers a data breach.

It’s going to take time to clean it up, the business’ reputation may take a hit, and there’s the major issue of cost. How much does cleanup cost? What if it’s a ransomware attack where your organisation must pay the ransom? What other specialists will you have to hire—and how much will you need to pay them?  

Estimating those kinds of costs can be overwhelming, especially when thinking about a hypothetical. It’s almost better to just not think about it at all. But a data breach could happen, and it’s smarter (and more cost effective) to be prepared. Proactive security is always better than a reactive approach, so we’re here to help. 

How to Calculate the Cost of a Data Breach

Organisations know that a cyber incident — be it a data breach, a case of ransomware, or another attack — is always a possibility.

Cyber risk can be greatly reduced through proactive measures, but that doesn’t mean organisations shouldn’t understand those risks and what could happen during a breach. In addition, many organisations don’t know what costs may result from a breach. There are multiple factors that determine cost including the type of business, the size of the organisation, the kind of breach, and many more; and there are multiple types of costs that will arise from any breach. 

Our data breach calculator gives a middle-of-the-road estimate to help an organisation start evaluating their breach risk and see, from a financial perspective, what could occur. This calculator presents neither a worst case nor a best-case scenario, but works to offer an honest, preliminary evaluation. We hope it can serve as a solid first step toward improving your organisation’s security posture. 

How Does the Data Breach Calculator Work? 

The Arctic Wolf team took both public data (from cyber insurers) and internal data (from our incident response team) and utilized that to estimate the key cost areas for organisations of different sizes, revenue, and industry.  

We incorporated a wide swath of data to offer as representative of a calculation as possible, though it should be noted that the universe of cyber incidents has more variety than the calculator can represent. On one end, some phishing emails are never opened, while on the other, some data breaches have unforeseen organisational consequences that extend over time. The calculator’s values simply represent a reasonable breach scenario that might happen to an organisation of a particular size, in a particular industry. 

Look at the data breach calculator with a dropdown menu for "which industry is your organization in"

A look at the data breach calculator. 

How To Use Our ‘Cost Of A Data Breach Calculator’ 

The calculator is easy and simple to use. You’ll be asked just a few questions that you should have the answers to (industry, size of your organisation, etc.) and our calculator will crunch numbers and quickly give you a rundown of data breach cost. 

It’s just a few inputs and clicks, so go ahead and try it out! We’ve programmed the calculator to give an organisation six or seven specific cost estimates and a full total, so you can begin to evaluate and compare the different expenses you might incur in a breach.  

Feel free to check out a couple of different scenarios, such as different types of breaches and different root points of compromise. A single breach scenario cost estimate is valuable, but it’s also important to consider the range of outcomes your organisation may end up facing.  

And, of course, there are economic risks this calculator doesn’t include such as regulatory penalties or legal judgments. Those values (and others like them) are extremely sensitive to the specifics of an organisation and the data breached, so we’ve left them out of the calculator altogether. But it’s useful to remember those additional expenses (and any others that may be specific to your organisation) when considering the calculator’s outputs.  

This calculator—and any further exercises your organisation performs to understand its breach scenarios—can be used to help evaluate your investments in cyber insurance, cybersecurity, and incident response. Strong security is a journey, not a destination, and understanding financial impacts is a major point along that path. Are your current investments rightsized to the risks a breach represents?  

If you’re utilising this calculator because your organisation is concerned about a data breach or you know you want to improve your security journey, feel free to reach out to us here (contact us). 

If you want to learn more about this calculator, and other quantitative insights from our incident response teams, check out our Cost of a Breach webinar

We also have a question for your organisation not included on the calculator — what did you think of the estimate? Did you get some sticker shock or does the number seem low? 

Find an estimate for your organisation and check out the data breach calculator.

Learn more about the economic impact of proactive cybersecurity approach.

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Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
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