Cybersecurity tools that protect credit unions from data breaches and fraud incidents can be pricey, but experts argued the costs far outweigh the professional and financial risks posed to credit unions that don't protect themselves.

When it comes the valuation of cyberattacks, many security experts draw from the "2017 Cost of Data Breach Study," sponsored by IBM Security and conducted by Ponemon Institute, which estimated the average total cost of a data breach at $3.62 million and the average cost for each affected record at $225. Heavily regulated industries such as financial services had a higher per record cost ($336) than the overall mean.

For credit unions, the biggest cost associated with breaches comes from the cost per record, Stephen Gilmour, manager, technical product management at Symitar, a division of the Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry & Associates, noted. "Remember that a credit union doesn't usually have just one type of record per member, but often multiple records for each member, such as credit cards, Social Security numbers, driver's licenses and other PII data."

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Roy Urrico

Roy W. Urrico specializes in articles about financial technology and services for Credit Union Times, as well as ghostwriting, copywriting, and case studies. Also: writer/editor of a semi-annual newsletter for Association for Financial Technology since 1997 and history projects funded by the U.S Interior Department, National Park Service and Warren County (N.Y.).