Considering total cost of incident in the age of “what if?”

Posted in: Business Insights


I’m currently in the process of moving houses and planning a wedding – busy, exciting, happy times. There are lots of positives – more yard space, more square footage, time with friends and family, cake…the list goes on. However, mixed in with these big, happy life changes is an underlying anxiety that something could go wrong. There’s always a chance that accidents, inclement weather or illness could ruin the party for everyone. It’s not pleasant to consider and I’d honestly rather sweep it all under the rug and go on with the merry-making (mmm cake!). But the voice at the back of my head won’t stop whispering what if?


It’s this voice that’s prompted me to take steps towards protecting my investments with liability insurance. Now, I’m not keen on laying out funds where I don’t have to, and I’m always the first to try and save a buck (coupons are my best friends!), but where any large investment is being made, it only makes sense for me to part with some of my hard coupon-saved dollars to protect that. I may never need it, true… but what if?


At Pythian, we spend a lot of our time exploring the world of what if? What if there’s an outage? What if there’s a breach? What will we lose? What will it cost? These are uncomfortable questions for a lot of organizations and especially uncomfortable when things are going well. If you haven’t had an outage or a data breach yet, it is easier to assume that this won’t happen. What if we invest in protection and that spend is wasted because nothing ever goes wrong? Naïve? Maybe. Comfortable? Oh yeah.


In a post-Snowden, post-Target, post-Home Depot world, it’s more important than ever for organizations to move out of the comfortable and really consider what the total impact of any one incident could be on their environment and take steps to insure themselves against it. Let’s spend some time being uncomfortable, considering more than just the Total Cost of Operations and think instead about the Total Cost of Incident.


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