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5 Stats That Show The Cost Saving Effect of Zero Trust

5 Stats That Show The Cost Saving Effect of Zero Trust

Zero trust isn’t just a buzzword in cybersecurity anymore. The movement has slowly been gaining momentum over the last decade after first being introduced in 2010. Now, a new report proves just how impactful zero trust really is on cybersecurity. IBM’s most recent installment of their annual Cost of a Data Breach Report analyzed the effectiveness of zero trust on organizations’ data breach costs. Here’s five major takeaways from the report that show the cost saving effect of zero trust:

Fully Deployed Zero Trust Lowers Breach Costs

Fully deployed zero trust saved companies 43% on data breach costs. Organizations that didn’t have zero trust as part of their cybersecurity strategies suffered a cost of $5.04 million per breach. For organizations with fully deployed zero trust the average cost of breach dropped to $3.28 million. Not only is that a savings of $1.76 million per breach, it’s below the overall average for the last five years. 

The cost of a data breach has averaged over $3.5 million per breach since 2016. 2021 saw the cost of a data breach rise to an all-time high of $4.24 million. But companies with fully deployed zero trust saw averages go in a different direction. As cyberattacks become more frequent, an organization could potentially see savings in the tens of millions of dollars over a five year period if it migrated to a zero trust security infrastructure. 

Learn What Zero Trust Is & How Your Business Can Benefit

Partially Deployed Zero Trust Still See Savings

Companies with partially deployed zero trust saved $660,000 per breach. Even organizations that had not yet finished their roll out of zero trust reported breach costs lower than organizations with no zero trust at all. The figure above represents organizations in the early stages of roll out too. The further along in the process, the more savings there are to be seen. 

Those in the early stages of zero trust deployment averaged a cost of $4.38 million per breach while those in the middle stage of deployment averaged a cost of $3.71 million per breach. Although a full deployment takes time, the cost saving effect of zero trust is seen almost immediately and steadily increases as it is  fully incorporated into a cybersecurity strategy. 

High Standard Encryption Yields Lower Breach Costs

In a data breach, certain aspects of a cybersecurity plan can help mitigate the overall cost. In IBM’s report, high-standard encryption was one such cost mitigating factor. Encryption using a 256 AES encryption key at minimum for data in rest and in motion is considered high-standard. Such encryption is a tenet of a zero trust model. 

Organizations with high standard encryption spent an average of $3.62 million per breach compared to the $4.87 million those with low standard encryption averaged. Even when only a single aspect of the security model is adopted, the increased data safety and cost saving effect of zero trust is felt. 

AI & Security Automation Contains Breaches Faster

Another key component of zero trust is the use of AI and security automation. While zero trust operates in a way that assumes any user or connection to a network may be a threat, it relies on AI and machine learning to constantly validate the connected users and devices. Like high standard encryption, AI is just a part of zero trust. Still organizations that have adopted this single aspect of a zero trust model saw savings on data breach costs. 

Organizations with a fully deployed AI and security automation detected and contained breaches more quickly than those that did not. On average, organizations without AI and automation saw breach lifecycles—the time it takes to detect and contain—of 324 days. Those that use AI and security automation in their security strategies experienced a much shorter breach lifecycle of 247 days. Shaving off two and a half months from a data breach lifecycle equals savings in remediation and a decrease in loss of customers. 

Some Organizations Are Slow to Adopt Zero Trust

Of the organizations that took part in the report, almost 50% of them reported no future plans to deploy or adopt a zero trust security model. This figure doesn’t bode well for the state of cybersecurity and vulnerability of enterprises. And, after examining the stats surrounding the cost saving effect of zero trust on data breaches, lacking such a model is bad for business. 

Control Access to User Data to Strengthen Cybersecurity

Zero trust isn’t just one cybersecurity measure, rather it’s a collection of existing actions used in a certain way that bolsters network security and saves organizations from excessive financial loss during a data breach event. Businesses that choose to adopt the model see a quick return on investment too. Organizations across all stages of deployment reported lower breach costs than those that hadn’t deployed zero trust at all. With cloud integration increasing in every industry and cyberattacks becoming more frequent and complex, it only makes sense to evolve cybersecurity too…not just for IT’s sake but for the bottom line.


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