As cyber criminals have improved their methods and become far more patient, businesses have been especially affected by cyber attacks. Cyber attacks have increased exponentially since 2019, particularly among small to medium-sized businesses. 65% of organizations have seen a measurable increase in attempted cyberattacks, up from 38% in 2019. These attacks are becoming far more frequent and targeted. Pair this with increased complexity thanks to technological transformations, and a sophisticated cyber attack can leave a business on the verge of collapse.
There are several costly effects that a cybersecurity breach can have on your company. They range from physical (stolen data) to intangible (reputational damage). In honor of cybersecurity month, we have compiled a list of the most devastating effects a cybersecurity breach can have on your organization.
A cyber attack can lead to monetary losses, but money isn’t the only thing an attacker can steal from your business. Your organization’s most valuable asset is its data. Even if the criminals cannot sell your organization’s data to others, they can hold it for ransom. With ransomware, a cyber criminal can lock employees out of an organization’s system until a ransom is paid. 79% of businesses say they’ve encountered ransomware attacks since 2020, and 35% admit one or more of those attacks led them to lose access to data and systems.
Similarly, confidential information might be stolen and threatened to be released to the public unless the organization pays up. Personal information from your customers and employees, as well as employee credentials, sells well on the black market. If an attack stealing employee credentials goes unnoticed, then your organization is primed for even more breaches in the future.
In the aftermath of a successful cyber attack, repairing your organization’s network, upgrading security, and dealing with the fees and penalties (and potential lawsuits) of an attack is extremely costly. On average, large and small businesses experience profit loss from downtime and remediation of attacks, resulting in an average annual cost for organizations of about $33.6 million.
In addition to downtime and lost profit, your organization may need to bring in an outside company/consultant to assist in finding/patching the vulnerability in your network, as well as seek legal counsel. Your organization will also need to notify anyone whose information was stolen in the breach. In a worst-case scenario, your organization will need to hire legal representation to defend itself against a law or class-action suit. Legal fees and any potential monetary damages will add up. Altogether, the costs associated with a cyber attack can bankrupt a company if there are no funds budgeted for such an event.
Loss of Reputation
Damage to your organization’s reputation because of a cyber breach may be the most devastating of all outcomes. Companies are already having a difficult time building trust with potential customers and a breach won’t do anything to help that. Neither customers nor other organizations want to do business with a company that is careless with its data or doesn’t have the correct cybersecurity protocols in place. In the event of a security breach, your organization may find it needs to take extreme measures to assure customers it’s changed its ways for the better.
Be proactive, prepared, and have a plan in place
A reputational hit will affect your organization in both the short and long term. There may be an initial revenue loss as customers turn elsewhere to do business. If your organization can’t recover quickly, then its brand may become damaged beyond repair. Additionally, your organization may find the publicity negatively impacts its ability to hire and retain top talent, suppliers, and/or investors.
Be proactive in defending your organization against cyber threats – the risks are too great, otherwise. Recovering from the negative impacts of a cyber breach can take years, but with a solid plan in place and funds budgeted for such an event, your organization can survive a breach if it occurs.
Concerned you’re not prepared? Judge offers a wide range of security services to help organizations ensure maximum uptime and network stability. This includes ongoing cyber assessments and risk management to proactively protect systems and data while continually strengthening your organization’s overall security posture. Click here to learn more.
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