If a hacker steals hundreds of thousands or even millions of customer records, you have a problem that's likely to cost your company millions of dollars in customer notifications and services such as free credit reports, and perhaps replacement credit cards.
Data breaches cost U.S. companies $214 per compromised customer record last year, according to the Ponemon Institute. The average total per-incident cost in 2010 was $7.2 million. Beyond the tangible costs, brand damage can be significant as well, though hard to quantify.
Yet many companies are unaware that their data and databases are being pillaged. When they do find out, weeks and even months have passed since the initial attack, according to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report. What’s more, businesses typically learn of breaches from third parties rather than their own people.