October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, is quickly coming to an end, but concerns over malicious and (and often costly) cyberthreats certainly are not. A 2021 press release issued jointly by McAfee Enterprise and FireEye stated that cyberthreats have increased by 81% since the global pandemic. Now more than ever, public and private sector organizations, including government agencies, schools, utilities, hospitals, and businesses, are common targets for cybercriminals. 

Sound surprising? It shouldn’t. According to one GovTech articledata breach numbers, costs, and impacts all rose in 2021. The following information from the Identity Theft Resource Center (September 2021) provides evidence of this alarming trend. 

  • The number of data breaches publicly reported in the U.S. decreased by 9% in Q3 2021 (446 breaches) compared to Q2 2021 (491 breaches). However, the number of data breaches through September 30, 2021, exceeded the total number of events in all of 2020 by 17% (1,291 vs. 1,108). 
  • For Q3 2021, the number of data compromise victims (160 million) was higher than in Q1 and Q2 2021 combined (121 million). The dramatic rise in victims is primarily due to a series of unsecured cloud databases, not data breaches.
  • The total number of cyberattack-related data compromises as of September 2021 was up 27% compared to FY 2020. Phishing and ransomware continued to be, far and away, the primary attack vectors. 

Additionally, according to a 2021 report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach among companies surveyed reached $4.24 million per incident in 2021, the hi