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Business continuity plans can mitigate cyber attacks

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Having a business continuity management program in place can reduce the cost of data breaches, the amount of time it takes to identify them and the likelihood of experiencing a breach over the next two years, says a Ponemon Institute L.L.C. study released Wednesday.

The study by Traverse City, Michigan-based Ponemon involved 383 companies in 16 industry sectors in 11 countries, including the United States, plus the Saudia Arabia and Arab Emirates region.

All the participating organizations had experienced a data breach, according to the study, “2016 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Impact of Business Continuity Management (BCM)”, which was sponsored by IBM.

The study found that companies with a business continuity management program took an average of 175 days to identify a breach, compared with an average of 227 days for firms that did not have such a program.

These results vary by industry sector. Education and retail organizations with these programs, for instance, were able to reduce the time it takes to identify and contain a material breach to 115 days and 109 days respectively, while financial services firms experienced a reduction to 68 days, according to the study.

Among other results, the study found that while the average cost per lost or stolen record can be as high as $167, for companies with a business continuity program the average cost can be as low as $149.

The study also concluded the likelihood of having a data breach some time during the next two years is 22% for firms with these programs and 29% for those without.