EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to the heightened awareness of cyber risk, companies are developing benchmarks and establishing best practices. Risk managers, along with IT professionals and others, are creating successful programs to keep their organizations safe from cyber threats, meeting their critical responsibility. To celebrate the successes of cyber security savvy risk managers, National Underwriter is searching for candidates whose programs are worthy of recognition with our inaugural Excellence in Cyber Security Risk Management Award. To nominate your program, fill out an application, including a company profile, which will be kept confidential. Submissions must be received by Oct. 9, 2015, to be considered.

2014 might be remembered as the year of compromise. According to data publishing platform Silk, nearly 290.5 million records were compromised in the top 11 breaches of all time. With a record 783 breaches last year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center and Identity Theft 911, breach totals are 27.5% higher than in 2013.

While cumulative losses are a moving target thanks to long-tail exposure, the average cost is rising. According to global investigations firm Kroll, the average cost of a data breach hit $5.9 million in 2014, up 9% from the previous year. Worse, few of the culprits are ever caught. Some of the worst losses, in fact, have yet to be quantified, and may not be given the ways in which stolen data has been spread globally.

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