How Much Will a Data Breach Cost You?

How Much Will a Data Breach Cost You?


The going rate for a compromised medical record seems to be $1000 (well, at least that’s the asking price) as seen in papers filed in the eleven class action lawsuits against Sutter Health following the theft of a desktop computer last fall.  The computer contained unencrypted protected health information on about 4.24 million members.  The eleven class action suits are likely to be consolidated for ease of handling by the courts.

For an outfit whose most recently reported year-end financials show just under $900 million in income on just over $9 billion in revenue, a $4.24 billion claim certainly qualifies as a big deal.  The data breach claims against Sutter Health were filed last year following its self-reporting of the computer theft, and are in the news again due to the potential consolidation.

The company had reportedly begun to encrypt its data last year, starting with more vulnerable mobile devices, and moving on to desktop computers, but had not gotten to the desktop in question by the time of the breach.  It remains to be seen how these facts end up affecting the final damages awarded in this case.

The takeaway for other covered entities and business associates out there: If the OCR HIPAA audits aren’t enough of a motivation to get cracking with beefed-up data privacy and security protections, the potential exposure of Sutter Health in this class action suit should be reason enough to get started on this work as soon as possible, and to make it a high priority. Suits like these may be grounded both in state law and in indirect theories flowing from HIPAA/HITECH breaches (since there is no private right of action under HIPAA). The exposure is there, and a number’s been put out there to quantify it. However expensive and inconvenient data encryption and other privacy and security measures may be, they are surely worth avoiding $1,000-a-head lawsuits and months of negative publicity.

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3 Comments on "How Much Will a Data Breach Cost You?"

Jackeline Godbee
Mar 25, 2013

If you are in the market for a computer, there are a number of factors to consider. Will it be used for your home, your office or perhaps even your home office combo? First off, you will need to set a budget for your new purchase before deciding whether to shop for notebook or desktop computers. Many offices use desktop computers because they are not intended to be moved around a lot. In addition, affordability often plays a large role in someone’s decision as to whether to purchase notebook or desktop computers.


Alphonse Beuchler
Dec 9, 2012

desktop computers these days are very very powerful and the price is also very affordable. ‘

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May Skender
Oct 3, 2012

Desktop computers these days are very powerful and they offer also more features compared to those computers that were manufactured decades ago. ”,:.

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