Data theft cost Sony as much as earthquake
I remember some meetings in my past life, when I had to justify expenditure on information to my boss – a chartered accountant with not too much in-depth knowledge of IT. This was in the late 1990’s. Of course, technology has moved on dramatically since then, but I’d be fairly sure that any accountants today would still be questioning the costs if IT/IS infrastructure and software. And today, it is not only the cost of the equipment that needs to be considered, it is the cost of the information held by companies. This is a very difficult thing to cost, but the problems at Sony in recent months gives some idea. In May 2011, the Los Angeles Times wrote about the cost of the first hacker attack on Sony (there was another one in June 2011). The article reports a cost of $171 million, which is believe it or not is nearly as much as the impact of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami earlier that year on the companies profit ($208m). I’m not sure what the hackers did to break in to Sony’s systems, but I bet it would have cost a lot less than $171 million to make their systems hacker-proof. And I’d also bet the hacker’s would be happy to repair the damage for a lot less than $171 million too!