Managing the Aftermath of a Cyber Breach

Kevin Coleman is a highly skilled senior level project and program manager/advisor with experience leading projects with labor budgets ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to multi-million dollar budgets across multiple industries.

It is difficult to miss the press coverage of a system compromise or breach these days. The media has started to cover this topic like never before, and there is a lot to cover. Cyber breaches have become a very broad problem and have hit organizations of all sizes and in all industry sectors. One study released earlier this year found that during a six-month period spanning 2013-2014, an astonishing 97 percent of organizations that had been examined had been breached. Now include the fact that IBM sponsored research found that last year, the average total cost of a data breach was $3.5 million--up 15 percent from the 2012 figure.

So now a project manager is assigned to managing a $3.5-million breach remediation project. Not convinced yet? Then include the fact that the current back-of-the-envelope calculation of overall project cost takes the number of records compromised and multiply that times $201. That would mean that the recent Home Depot breach of 56 million could cost as much as $11.25 billion (based on the 2013 Global Cost of Data Breach Study).

It is important to note that some put the cost at $246 per record; that would increase the potential cost to over $13.75 billion. When it comes to the defense sector, the costs can be far greater when long-term research efforts are compromised or when national security initiatives are involved--or the competitive …

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