Why this report matters


Key findings

2021 had the highest average cost in 17 years

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Data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million, the highest average total cost in the 17-year history of this report.

Remote work due to COVID-19 increased cost

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The average cost was USD 1.07 million higher in breaches where remote work was a factor in causing the breach, compared to those where remote work was not a factor.

Compromised credentials caused the most breaches

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The most common initial attack vector, compromised credentials, was responsible for 20% of breaches at an average breach cost of USD 4.37 million.

Security AI had the biggest cost-mitigating effect

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Automation and security artificial intelligence (AI), when fully deployed, provided the biggest cost mitigation, up to USD 3.81 million less than organizations without it. 

A zero trust approach helped reduce cost

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The average cost of a breach was USD 1.76 million less at organizations with a mature zero trust approach, compared to organizations without zero trust.

Cloud migration impacted costs and containment

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Organizations further along in their cloud modernization strategy contained the breach on average 77 days faster than those in the early stage of their modernization journey.

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*Note that this report does not constitute advice, and any recommendations are for educational purposes only. The research does not use scientific samples, and other limitations need to be carefully considered before drawing conclusions from findings.