The Boston Globe quotes Cyber Statecraft Initiative Nonresident Senior Fellow Jason Healey on the costs and benefits of the internet and data as reported in the joint Atlantic Council and Zurich Insurance Group study, Risk Nexus: Beyond Data Breaches: Global Interconnections of Cyber Risk:

COULD USING THE Internet actually end up costing us more than it’s worth? A new study from a major insurance company and a respected think tank say it may have already.

The report, produced by the Atlantic Council and Zurich Insurance Co., says that in North America and Europe, the high cost of data breaches and the huge amounts spent by businesses and governments to protect themselves outweigh the economic benefits produced by our networked computers and mobile devices.

“It staggered us,” said Jason Healey, senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

But don’t put Healey down as a cyberpessimist — far from it. The study also found that while the costs of using networked devices exceed benefits on an annual basis, those benefits compound over time, while costs are generally one-offs, like the need to purchase a new encryption system. As a result, the benefits of networked computer systems grow dramatically over time. Ultimately, they far outstrip the costs of security upgrades or lost data. “It’s like the car dealer who loses a little bit on every car, but makes it up in volume,” Healey said.

Read the full article here.

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