For many companies, knowledge assets—including trade secrets, confidential corporate information and other non-public information—make up crucial aspects of their core business. Cybersecurity threats that compromise knowledge assets can cause significant financial damages and leave a company in ruins.

According to a joint study by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Ponemon Institute, 74 percent of survey respondents said that their company likely failed to detect a data breach that involved theft or loss of knowledge assets. The study found that the average cost to remediate cyberattacks targeting knowledge assets was $5.4 million. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said that the maximum cost of remediating cyberattacks would top more than $100 million and almost half of the respondents said that the cost would be more than $250 million.

Given that loss of knowledge assets may cause so much damage, why are the threats so rampant?

According to the study, it’s because company executives and boards aren’t focused on the issue and its resolution. Only 32 percent of the respondents said that their companies’ senior management understood the risks caused by unprotected knowledge assets. The study also found that “careless employees” are the “most likely root cause of a data breach.”

However, according to another Ponemon study, sponsored by BrandProtect, external threats—those that arise outside the company’s firewall or security perimeter—are more difficult to detect than internal threats, such as careless employees. More than 60 percent of respondents said that their companies didn’t have the necessary tools and resources to mitigate external threats.


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