Aug 28, 2018
Data breaches aren’t new but they’re definitely on the rise and the risks are greater than ever. Not only do businesses small and large need a plan in place, but a budget as well. Traditional means of protection (firewalls, antivirus software, etc.) are no longer enough. Take a look at some of the ways in which your business can be impacted when cybercrime strikes.
Loss of Trust
Both short term and long term trust can be tarnished once a business experiences a data breach. Some businesses have successfully performed damage control (LinkedIn was one that, even while experiencing two major data breaches in a span of four years, still remains the top business networking site), but most are not that lucky. Even Yahoo! is suffering the consequences by taking a nearly five billion dollar hit in the sale of its company.
Trust spans far and wide - shareholders, investors, employees and customers. Lack of trust affects a company’s brand loyalty and reputation, which in turn affects the bottom line. Some may leave you during the breach, others may leave you forever.
Loss of Dollars
Initial data recovery and added security measures post-breach only tell part of the story. And since it costs significantly more money to fight it once it’s happened than to protect against it, company’s are urged to bite the bullet up front in hopes of not having to dish out millions post-breach (fines, penalties, legal fees, and so on). Not only are the upfront investments in cybercrime protection high, but testing, monitoring and keeping abreast of the latest technology is also pricey in terms of both dollars and manpower. Essentially, it’s one of the necessary evils of doing any type of e-business today.
Loss of Sales
In addition to protecting against cybercriminals and the resulting loss of sales, companies are now also learning of the need to protect against cyberactivists. An entire subculture exists whereby cyberactivists ban together in an attempt to shut down a suspecting company’s online business operations. Sometimes called a denial-of-service, or DoS attack, they make it so consumers cannot access a website’s online store, thus plummeting sales until the attack is recognized and resolved. Once affected customers understand the ramifications of what's happening, they may also choose not to return. So there’s an opportunity cost in addition to an actualized financial loss. For a more detailed explanation and tips on how to recognize and prevent DoS attacks, visit the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s (US-CERT) website.
Loss of Data
Having your proprietary data stolen can lead to the loss of your business’s “edge” or whatever makes it unique or special in the marketplace. The ramifications can be devastating but potentially less devastating than having the data of your customers is stolen. The fear of identity theft is warranted and consumers typically don’t want to shop with businesses that mishandle their sensitive information. According to a global survey by Gemalto, “Nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers surveyed worldwide say they are unlikely to shop or do business again with a company that had experienced a breach where financial information was stolen, and almost half (49%) had the same opinion when it came to data breaches where personal information was stolen.”
If your business would like to avoid finding itself in a cybercrime mess, we urge you to look beyond our blog to figure out your next steps. We also urge you to keep the lines of communication open and educate your customers on what they can do to keep themselves safe. Security is a two-way street!