What do you know about cybersecurity? You probably realize that it is important, but how much attention do you give it overall? Is the sum of your security protocol having an antivirus program and making sure it’s up to date? That’s a good start, but it might not be enough to protect you against a determined hacker.
One of the Biggest Hacks in History
The Yahoo hack of 2013 holds as one of the biggest data breaches in history. It’s evidence that any company, no matter how large, is at risk of a data breach. So clearly even having the best antivirus program is not going to prevent your company from being hacked.
My Company is Too Small
This is a common misconception among small business owners. The fact that you are small-fry in the business world might even make you a more popular target. This is because smaller companies have less of a budget to spend on cyber-security and are more likely to be lax in this area.
There are Many Different Types of Hacks
Data gathering: Even if you only have fifty client accounts, that’s still a lot of data to steal. There will be client’s full names, addresses, identity numbers/ social security numbers, etc. Even if you don’t store their credit card details, this kind of data is gold for identity thieves.
Attack to get your financial details: Gaining access to your banking account is another reason that hackers might see you as an ideal target.
Ransomware: But, why bother with hacking bank accounts when you can lock out the system’s authorized user? These attacks are particularly crippling because there is no way around them. You either pay the ransom demanded or lose access to your system for good.
Entirely Malicious: These kinds of attacks make little sense to the victim. The hacker’s aim seems to be to cause as much chaos as they possibly can. This is where a virus wipes all your data. Sometimes these can be used to cover up a data breach, but they can also be purely malicious.
The Effects of A Cyber Attack
You are convinced of the risks of attack, but how damaging could it really be? Surely all a company needs to do is to dust themselves off and start again?
Recovering from a cyber attack could be harder than you think. In fact, it is something that a lot of businesses never quite recover from. Let’s look at what the devastating effects of a hack might be.
Maybe you did all you could to protect against the hack; maybe you didn’t. The simple fact is that your clients trusted you to keep their personal data safe. That trust has now been shattered and can be very difficult to rebuild.
Not only do you have to find some way to effectively apologize for the breach, but you also need to regain your clients’ trust. They’ll want to know what you have done differently this time around.
Data or Monetary Loss
We’ve spoken about the main types of hacks and what their objectives are. A successful cyber attack is going to cost you money in some way or another. They might use it to gain access to your bank accounts or use it to steal data.
Either way, you are going to have to spend money on:
Revamping the security
Getting legal advice regarding potential liability issues
A good spin campaign for when you tell your clients. And, yes, you do have to tell them.
This one comes in to play almost to add insult to injury. There is bound to be some form of the formal investigation made into the affair. If the authorities find that you were lacking in terms of data protection legislation, you could be subjected to fines.
Other Intangible Costs that Might Crop Up Later
There are also a number of other costs that might not be immediately apparent. What if the data breach resulted in a client’s identity being stolen. That client might decide to sue your company for damages. They could win if it was found that you didn’t take all reasonable precautions to safeguard their data.
There are also other costs that might be necessary. How did the hacker gain access to your system? Were they able to physically access the system from your premises because of lax security? That means that a security upgrade might need to be considered, and that is going to add to the costs.
Could a cyber attack destroy your business? Most definitely. As we have seen, small businesses, in particular, are seen as a soft target for hackers. It is time for all businesses to start taking cybercrime seriously and work at protecting themselves from attack.