Data breaches remain the prime concern for companies across the globe, with the financial consequences of unplanned downtime deemed to be extremely damaging for both business and IT leaders.

According to a report released by data management company EMC, the average annual loss incurred as a result of these breaches was found to be over $860,000, with 61 percent of 3,2000 respondents claiming that their company had experienced a data loss within the last 12 months. The findings of the global IT Trust Curve survey also revealed that those surveyed found that the major roadblocks to achieving greater levels of security compliance were also mainly financial, with budget and available resources cited as reasons.

The results of the EMC study also showed that many senior executives have a demonstrated lack of confidence in the levels of security and data recovery systems currently being used. According to the report, 45 percent of respondents saw this a major factor in terms of financial losses incurred during breaches, with those interviewed claiming that an IT-related incident could have a serious effect on the real-life running of a business in the near future.

Writing on the EMC company blog, Heidi Biggar noted that data protection was more important now than at any other time in the last year, stating that companies were reaching a "tipping point" in terms of data security and associated infrastructure. According to the figures released in the report, of the 61 percent of respondents who experienced unplanned downtime, 45 percent cited a loss of employee productivity, 32 percent demonstrated a loss of confidence and 27 percent saw incremental business opportunities disappear.

"It's fueling concern within organizations not just about the readiness of the IT team to reduce unplanned downtime and data loss but also among business teams about IT's very ability to move forward aggressively," wrote Biggar. "And this has the potential to stall strategic IT initiatives around Big Data, cloud computing, mobile, etc., and can cost your business big dollars in lost revenue, lost business opportunity and lost productivity."

With that in mind, the results of this annual survey would seem to cement the notion that the more attention a company pays to protecting its data and establishing access control protocols, the stronger the foundation of IT becomes throughout that organization. In a world that relies increasingly on data to advance and support business success, IT leaders should be looking to make sure that limiting the potential for data or security breaches remains at the top of their agenda, especially in the hyper-connected 21st century society that we all inhabit.