Security intrusions are becoming more costly for enterprises, according to a recent study by Ponemon Institute. The average consolidated total cost of a data breach rose 15 percent in the last year to $3.5 million, according to the institute’s ninth annual “Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis,” sponsored by IBM.

The study of 314 companies in 10 countries also found that the cost incurred for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information increased more than 9 percent to a consolidated average of $145.

As part of the study, researchers collected detailed information about the financial consequences of data breaches, which it defines as the loss or theft of sensitive, protected or confidential data. Ponemon Institute conducted 1,690 interviews with IT, compliance and information security practitioners.

“The goal of this research is to not just help companies understand the types of data breaches that could impact their business, but also the potential costs and how best to allocate resources to the prevention, detection and resolution of such an incident,” Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, said in a statement.

The most costly breaches occurred in the U.S. and Germany, with $201 and $195 per compromised record, respectively. Root causes of data breaches vary among countries, the report says, and the most costly data breaches were those caused by malicious and criminal attacks.

A strong security posture is critical to decreasing the cost of data breach, the study says. On average, companies that reported they had a strong security posture were able to reduce the cost by as much as $14 per record.

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