However, malicious attacks remain the single highest cause of breaches, with 37 percent of the intrusion pie.
"Data breaches normally aren't about bad people," Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the institute that bears his name, said in an interview. "It's normally about good people making mistakes or business processes that fail."
"There are a number of ways that cyber attacks can be orchestrated," he said in an interview. "But one of the common ways to do it is to take advantage of some weakness in human nature by getting someone to open an email or do something they shouldn't do if they were mindful of computer security at all times."
The Ponemon-Symantec study also noted that the average per-record cost of data breaches around the world increased this year over last -- to $136 from $130. However, those numbers, too, varied by region and breach type.