New IBM Report Finds Data Breach Costs Reach New Highs, Yet Half of Breached Organizations Unwilling to Increase Security

IBM Security released its annual “Cost of a Data Breach Report,” revealing that the global average cost of a data breach reached $4.45 million in 2023—an all-time high for the report and a 15% increase over the last 3 years.

Detection and escalation costs jumped 42% over this same time frame, representing the highest portion of breach costs, and indicating a shift towards more complex breach investigations.

According to the 2023 IBM report, businesses are divided in how they plan to handle the increasing cost and frequency of data breaches.

The study found that while 95% of studied organizations have experienced more than one breach, breached organizations were more likely to pass incident costs onto consumers (57%) than to increase security investments (51%).

The 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on in-depth analysis of real-world data breaches experienced by 553 organizations globally between March 2022 and March 2023.

The research, sponsored and analyzed by IBM Security, was conducted by Ponemon Institute and has been published for 18 consecutive years.

Other key findings in the 2023 IBM report include:

  • AI Picks Up Speed – AI and automation had the biggest impact on speed of breach identification and containment for studied organizations. Organizations with extensive use of both AI and automation experienced a data breach lifecycle that was 108 days shorter compared to studied organizations that have not deployed these technologies (214 days versus 322 days).
  • The Cost of Silence – Ransomware victims in the study that involved law enforcement saved $470,000 in average costs of a breach compared to those that chose not to involve law enforcement. Despite these potential savings, 37% of ransomware victims studied did not involve law enforcement in a ransomware attack.
  • Detection Gaps – Only one third of studied breaches were detected by an organization's own security team, compared to 27% that were disclosed by an attacker. Data breaches disclosed by the attacker cost nearly $1 million more on average compared to studied organizations that identified the breach themselves.

"Time is the new currency in cybersecurity both for the defenders and the attackers. As the report shows, early detection and fast response can significantly reduce the impact of a breach," said Chris McCurdy, general manager, worldwide IBM security services. "Security teams must focus on where adversaries are the most successful and concentrate their efforts on stopping them before they achieve their goals. Investments in threat detection and response approaches that accelerate defenders speed and efficiency – such as AI and automation – are crucial to shifting this balance."

Additional findings in the 2023 IBM report include:

  • Breaching Data Across Environments – Nearly 40% of data breaches studied resulted in the loss of data across multiple environments including public cloud, private cloud, and on-prem—showing that attackers were able to compromise multiple environments while avoiding detection. Data breaches studied that impacted multiple environments also led to higher breach costs ($4.75 million on average).
  • Costs of Healthcare Breaches Continue to Soar – The average costs of a studied breach in healthcare reached nearly $11 million in 2023—a 53% price increase since 2020. Cybercriminals have started making stolen data more accessible to downstream victims, according to the 2023 X-Force Threat Intelligence Report. With medical records as leverage, threat actors amplify pressure on breached organizations to pay a ransom. In fact, across all industries studied, customer personally identifiable information was the most commonly breached record type and the costliest.
  • The DevSecOps Advantage – Studied organizations across all industries with a high level of DevSecOps saw a global average cost of a data breach nearly $1.7 million lower than those studied with a low level/no use of a DevSecOps approach.
  • Critical Infrastructure Breach Costs Break $5 Million – Critical infrastructure organizations studied experienced a 4.5% jump in the average costs of a breach compared to last year—increasing from $4.82 million to $5.04 million—$590K higher than the global average.

For more information about this report, visit