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New tool can estimate potential cost of a data breach

IT security pros often lament that it can be difficult getting the top brass to understand the need for certain security investments. Holding up headlines about the TJX data breach and warning that they could be next is certainly one way to sway the budget gatekeepers. Another way is to give them an estimate of the financial damage a breach can cause.

Darwin Professional Underwriters, a tech liability insurance firm based in Farmington, Conn., says it has a tool to help companies do just that.

The company has created Tech//404, a free online calculator that allows companies to “accurately assess” their financial risk from a potential data breach.

“The calculator will automatically generate an average cost, and a plus/minus 20% range, for expenses associated with internal investigation, notification/crisis management and regulatory/compliance if the incident were to give rise to a class action claim,” the company says.

Numerical results presented in the data loss cost calculator are based on a proprietary formula the company created. It takes into account information available in the public domain through the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; per capita loss expenses published by Ponemon Institute research studies; case law; and other published reports.

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With the endless number of data breaches that have taken place over the past couple of years, it is great to see that someone has finally come up with a tool to measure the true financial risk that a company faces if it happens to them. It is defintely an unsurmountable challenge when security practitioners attempt to justify additional expenditures with the bean counters who simply don't get it. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.