Researchers from Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security examined responses from more than 800 CIOs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, India, Brazil and Dubai. The research examined where vital information such as intellectual property originates, where it is stored globally, how it is transferred and lost. The companies surveyed estimated they lost a combined $4.6 billion worth of intellectual property last year alone, and spent approximately $600 million repairing damage from data breaches. Based on these numbers, McAfee projects that companies worldwide lost more than $1 trillion last year.
“Companies are grossly underestimating the loss, and value, of their intellectual property,” said Eugene Spafford, professor of computer science at Purdue University and executive director of CERIAS. “Just like gold, diamonds or crude oil, intellectual property is a form of currency that is traded internationally, and can have serious economic impact if it is stolen.”
“Based on the survey findings McAfee conservatively estimates that the global damage from data loss to top one trillion dollars,” said Dave DeWalt, president and chief executive officer of McAfee. “This report is a wake-up call because the current economic crisis is poised to create a global meltdown in vital information. Increased pressures on firms to reduce spending and cut staffing have led to more porous defenses and increased opportunity for crime. Companies need to stop looking at security as a cost center but as a business enabler.”
The McAfee Unsecured Economies report suggests that the ability to safely store intellectual property is a key driver of security investment in Brazil, Japan and China. Sixty percent of Chinese respondents cited “safer storage” as a reason for storing intellectual property and other sensitive information outside of their own country.