Cyber attacks are a complex and ever expanding problem for businesses. The threats have become increasingly sophisticated and hackers are ever more equipped to strike a critical blow to a company’s network. With this in mind, it would seem irresponsible and even foolish for any business to go without high quality and resilient cyber security. Organizations should be aware of the need to protect their interests, and should take note of the following potential consequences of a cyber attack.
1. Sensitive and Personal Data Could be Exposed
As with any successful company, there is a responsibility that comes with an ever growing client base. The likelihood is that businesses will need to protect sensitive client information as well as personal data which may put them at risk if it is accessed by malicious third parties.
This is particularly prevalent in the fields of healthcare and insurance. Customers will not be too happy to discover that the reason their health conditions, prescriptions, and surgery history have been accessed is because the company they have otherwise trusted have failed in their responsibility to protect their data. Furthermore, it would also expose staff members’ details to potential hackers.
Customers and consumers are increasingly turning towards companies that take cyber security seriously. In a recent consumer survey in the UK, 80 percent of customers felt that cyber security was a high priority for them.
2. Credit Card Details Could be Accessed
While hacks on sensitive information are traumatic, breaches of credit and debit cards details are a whole different ball game. A recent incident with the online company MoviePass highlighted not only what happens when you fail to secure your company’s website but also the potential long-term consequences for you doing so.
MoviePass made several critical errors with their clients’ data, including leaving their server unsecured, allowing sensitive data to be seen in plaintext, and the dataset being publicly accessible. The result of this negligence was that thousands of their customers’ credit card details were exposed to hackers.
While MoviePass’ actions might be considered extreme in terms of failure to protect client data, there is a recognition that businesses of all sizes are making the same mistakes. The aftermath was for the already creaking company to go under just weeks after the cyber attack was revealed and customers scattered. This further highlights that a lack of investment in cyber security can be devastating for your future trading.
3. Major Site Attacks
Even the big players can get it wrong sometimes. Both Netflix and Twitter have experienced system crashes with suggestions that some have been caused by cyber attacks. In the age of instant media, this kind of incident causes widespread complaints and a backlash for the companies, not to mention a huge amount of embarrassment. Site outages for any businesses result in a damaged reputation as well as financial loss.
To make matters worse, these issues can be costly to repair and while these costs could be a drop in the ocean for Netflix, it could be far more damaging to a smaller business. This is further compounded with the knowledge that 43% of cyber attacks were aimed at small businesses. Maintaining a website and ensuring it is fully operational is an essential component in the effective continuation of any business.
This week, several banks and online government services have been shut down in the major city of Johannesburg, South Africa, due to DDoS attacks and a ransomware threat.
4. The Threat Continues to Rise
The danger of a cyber attack has spiked in the past year. In 2019 so far, 55 percent of businesses have reported an attack, up from 40 percent the previous year. To make matters worse, over three quarters of businesses have admitted that they are ill prepared and lack the knowledge to be fully protected online. A report by the firm Hiscox found that globally U.S businesses rank among the worst offenders for failing to employ someone whose focus is on cyber security. With an average loss to each business of $369,000, companies can ill afford to avoid investment in cyber security.
How to Deal with the Threat
While companies may wish to invest money in providing lightning fast laptops to their staff, their primary technological investment should be in cyber security. Studies show that small to medium businesses who spend on average $1.4 million versus the overall average of $900,000 on cyber security technology are far more likely to avert disaster.
Although it’s not always easy to see the immediate benefits of purchasing cyber security tools, consultancy, and the relevant software and hardware, it pays dividends in the long run. Organizations should take advice from experts by consulting a professional in cyber security. Even information that was valid a year ago may have evolved, which is why advice should be taken regularly. Consulting the best people can help businesses to stay ahead of the game.
Lastly, companies should have a cyber policy defence and plan. They should make clear to employees what their cyber security responsibilities are, using step-by-step instructions to protect the business’s data as well as sensitive customer data. The plan should also include contingency guidance to staff members should the worst happen and a cyber attack occurs.
This way, the business is far more adept and resilient at responding to the attack and can minimise the risks involved. With over 60 percent of U.S businesses ceasing to exist six months after a cyber attack, the need for robust cyber security is clear.
SANVADA™ LLC is a BBB and VOSB Certified high-tech cloud consulting business that delivers products and services to consumers and businesses alike. Our products and services include: proprietary software solutions such as VPN and VPS capabilities, cyber security, and AWS Workspaces for developers. We offer data migration and automation as well as proof-of-concepts (PoC), and prototyping software development. We are the first and last when it comes to monitoring your data for any vulnerabilities or viruses. To learn more, visit us here!