In the wake of Black Hat® and DefCon®, network security and data protection seem to be buzzing more than usual. That’s a good thing, because conversation can increase awareness and, hopefully, action.

Looking over numbers from the Ponemon Institute’s 2011 Cost of a Data Breach study again, the numbers on root causes of breaches really jumped out:

  • 41 percent of data breaches examined in the study were caused by negligence
  • 31 percent of the breaches were due to malicious or criminal attacks, up from 24 percent in 2009 and 12 percent in 2008

There are a number of tools to fight negligence, including education, executing best practices and vigilance. More challenging is increasing data protection amid the surge in malicious attacks coming from inside and outside the organization.

What’s encouraging? Ponemon says more companies are being proactive about data protection.

The infographic below, produced by for Dell, gives a bit more context for the threat environment.

Surge in malicious attacks makes data breaches even costlier