The Business Costs Of Phishing: How Expensive Could It Be?

Phishing attacks continue affecting companies of all sizes. Phishing is basically a fraudulent method used by cyberhackers to collect personal and sensitive information from individuals and businesses using deceptive links and emails. Over the past few years, phishing has emerged as an attack vector that regularly costs businesses millions of dollars. In fact, based on a report by SlashNext, more than 255 million phishing attacks occurred over the first six months of 2022 alone.

Today, phishing attacks continue to be a huge cybersecurity threat faced by many businesses, especially since hackers are aware that employees at every level rely heavily on email for communication. For this reason, it is necessary for companies to invest in email security services that will help defend their data from potential cyberattacks. To better understand the impact of cyberattacks on businesses, this article looks at the financial burden that phishing attacks impose on companies.

The Monetary Cost of Phishing Defence

Phishing is profitable. Because of this, hackers are willing to invest money into it to increase the possibility of a successful phishing campaign. For businesses, this means that addressing phishing threats becomes more financially expensive, especially as the cost of phishing scams increases each year. Generally, the detection and mitigation of a single phishing email can already cost around $31, and this figure exponentially increases as the volume of phishing messages increases.

According to a research study, almost half of email phishing attacks that occurred in the recent years are polymorphic, with over 90 attacks going through 251 to 521 permutations. Because most hackers take advantage of polymorphic phishing attacks to increase their campaign’s success rate, defending against phishing scams becomes even more expensive for businesses. On average, a company spends over $45,000 on IT personnel or IT outsource services in Singapore to handle phishing threats. 

The Time Cost of Phishing Defence

Time is money, and dealing with phishing attempts is not just time-consuming but burdensome and distracting for employees as well. When team members receive plenty of phishing emails on a regular basis, this can distract them from working on other important parts of the business. As a matter of fact, reports have shown that an average IT team spends around 27.5 minutes on just a single phishing email.

Based on a study conducted by Osterman Research, between 16 to 60 minutes are usually spent, from detection to removal of a phishing threat. Many employees even say that one-third of their working hours every week are spent addressing phishing-related concerns. Unfortunately, the time spent by businesses on mitigating phishing attacks is expected to remain the same or even increase in the months to come.

The Cost of Neglecting Phishing Defence

Most companies take a proactive approach to email security. However, the phishing protection provided by many conventional secure email gateways (SEGs) is limited in comparison to the increasing sophistication of modern phishing attacks.

According to IBM, the costs of data breaches in the business industry surged by 13% from 2020 to 2022. On average, the cost of a data breach wherein the initial attack vector is email phishing is $4.91 million, while the average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.54 million. Aside from these financial costs, businesses that experience phishing attacks also often incur a loss of market value, reputation, customer trust, and regulatory fines.


Dealing with phishing threats is undoubtedly expensive. However, with the increasing number and complexity of phishing attacks these days, it has become more important now than ever for businesses to invest in email security and other cybersecurity measures in order to mitigate phishing risks and avoid all sorts of losses. While cybersecurity solutions may cost a significant amount of money, it will surely be more costly for your business to suffer the consequences of neglecting phishing defence.

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