Now more than ever, pretty much every business in operation up and down the UK is to some extent reliant on IT systems and networks in order to function. Even those enterprises of a more manual or ‘old-fashioned’ nature are at least partially dependent on such technology for their day-to-day operations, though even at this juncture in time there are still so many that take data security for granted.
According to the experts at www.Perspectiverisk.com, it tends to be a case of a good chunk of business owners living in blissful ignorance with something of an ‘it will never happen to me’ perspective. And chances are it never will, but as it’s impossible to know which unlucky few businesses will each year be targeted by cyber-crooks, all businesses need to protect themselves against such attacks.
Of course, until it happens to you personally it’s difficult to understand exactly how much damage could be done by a simple ‘virtual’ attack on the part of a criminal gang. Sadly, the damage runs exponentially deeper than most would think possible and can have a lasting effect that’s been known to spell the outright demise of many smaller and newer businesses.
1 – Private Data Loss
For example, it’s important to understand that when a criminal hacks into your IT systems, they may gain access to every single item of data your systems hold. Anything from company information to the credit card details of your customers and right through to names, addresses and more. The value of much of this data is simply impossible to put a figure to as when it comes to security and privacy, the kind of havoc data theft can trigger is quite beyond compare. Regardless of how dependent or otherwise your business is on data of any kind, losing it can be disastrous.
2 – Financial Losses
By accessing company data, it’s perfectly possible for cyber-criminals to put a huge dent in the firm’s finances. They may hack directly into your accounts, they may steal credit card information or they may simply do a world of damage which then costs you a small fortune to repair. In any and all cases, it’s somewhat uncommon for cyber-attacks to pass without a huge bill being sent the way of the business which in most cases will not be covered by standard insurance policies.
3 – Legal Action
If and when the private data of your customers, contacts or peers falls into the hands of cyber-criminals, there’s every chance it will be you personally that’s held responsible for the consequences. The simple fact of the matter is that as a business owner, it is your responsibility to look after the private data of those you do business with. And if you fail in your obligations to do so, there’s a good chance you’ll be the one who’s held liable for any consequences. Needless to say, this can be enough to cripple a business.
4 – Downtime
Even if you’re covered against losses and have nothing to worry about in a legal sense, it’s worth bearing in mind that the additional losses incurred by way of downtime could also give your business a severe kick in the rear-end. For every moment you’re unable to operate due to repairs and restoration work being carried out, you’re effectively watching money pour down the drain. Downtime can be extraordinarily expensive and damaging for any business, though tends to come as standard with IT security breaches.
5 – Reputation Damage
Last but not least, the moment you become known as a business that clearly hasn’t been taking data security and privacy seriously enough, you’ll find your reputation being dragged through the mud. The simple fact of the matter is that nobody – customers and businesses alike – wants to do business with any firm that may put their respective personal data at risk. When a reputational knock like this occurs it can be extremely difficult, even borderline impossible to make reparations further down the line. In terms of financial loss and damage to company strength in general, reputational damage really is a disastrous consequence to bear.
Of course, there will always be certain high-level attacks that are all-but impossible to prevent – the fact that brands like Microsoft and Sony have faced such attacks illustrates the point pretty clearly. But at the same time, more than 90% of everyday hacks from lower-level criminal groups can be thwarted before posing even the slightest of risks, simply with proactive data security measures and a robust penetration testing process implemented as and when recommended.