The hotly disputed black magic of data breach cost estimates

Robert Hackett reports:

A single stolen customer record costs probably somewhere between $0.58 and $201. What’s the best model?

A few weeks ago Fortune visited a law firm where one partner lamented the quality of cost estimates for big companies suffering data breaches—a vital consideration for businesses seeking to manage their risk and score reasonably priced insurance policies. (Who and where are unimportant for the purposes of the story.) Prompted by a recent analysis of 10-k filings which concluded that the impact of breaches to corporate bottom lines is trivial, the conversation stirred the lawyer’s excitement—and vexation. There are no good estimates, the lawyer rued.

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