IBM, the leading global technology company, has published a study highlighting the importance of cybersecurity in an increasingly digital age. According to IBM Security’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, the Middle East has incurred losses of SR28 million ($7.45 million) from data breaches in 2022 alone — this figure already exceeds the total amount of losses accrued in each of the last eight years.
The latest edition of the Cost of a Data Breach Report — now in its 17th year — reveals costlier and higher-impact data breaches than ever before. As outlined by the study, the global average cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high of $4.35 million for surveyed organizations. With breach costs increasing nearly 13 percent over the last two years of the report, the findings suggest these incidents may also be contributing to rising costs of goods and services. In fact, 60 percent of studied organizations raised their product or services prices due to the breach, when the cost of goods is already soaring worldwide amid inflation and supply chain issues.
Notably, the report ranks the Middle East among the top five countries and regions for the highest average cost of a data breach. As per the study, the average total cost of a data breach in the Middle East amounted to SR28 million in 2022, the region being second only to the US on the list. The report also spotlights the industries across the Middle East that have suffered the highest per-record costs in millions, with the financial (SR1,039), health (SR991) and energy (SR950) sectors taking first, second and third spots, respectively.
Fahad Alanazi, IBM Saudi general manager, said: “Today, more so than ever, in an increasingly connected and digital age, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. It is essential to safeguard businesses and privacy. As the digital economy continues to evolve, enhanced security will be the marker of a modern, world-class digital ecosystem.”
He continued: “At IBM, we take great pride in enabling the people, businesses and communities we serve to fulfill their potential by empowering them with state-of-the-art services and support. Our findings reiterate just how important it is for us, as a technology leader, to continue pioneering solutions that will help the Kingdom distinguish itself as the tech capital of the region.”
The report also sheds light on the “haunting effect” data breaches are having on businesses, with 83 percent of studied organizations having experienced more than one data breach in their lifetime. Another factor rising over time is the after-effects of breaches on these organizations, which linger long after they occur, as nearly 50 percent of breach costs are incurred more than a year after the breach.
The study also revealed that participating organizations fully deploying security AI and automation incurred $3.05 million less on average in breach costs compared to studied organizations that have not deployed the technology — the biggest cost-saver observed in the study.