According to the Ponemon Institute's ninth annual Cost of Data Breach Study, sponsored by IBM, the average consolidated cost of a data breach increased by 15 percent in the past year to reach $3.5 million.

The survey of 1,690 IT, compliance and information security practitioners at 314 companies in 10 countries also found that the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive or confidential information rose by more than nine percent to $145.

The most costly data breaches took place in the U.S. and Germany, at $201 and $195 per compromised record, respectively. The least expensive breaches were in India and Brazil at $51 and $70 per record, respectively.

"The goal of this research is to not just help companies understand the types of data breaches that could impact their business, but also the potential costs and how best to allocate resources to the prevention, detection and resolution of such an incident," Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Dr. Larry Ponemon said in a statement.

The greatest threats to the companies surveyed were malicious code and sustained probes -- the companies estimate that they deal with an average of 17 malicious codes and 12 sustained probes each month.

Still, only 38 percent of the companies surveyed have a security strategy in place to protect their IT infrastructure, and just 45 percent have a security strategy to protect their information assets.

The full report is available here.

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