The long-term financial damage of cybersecurity breaches
An SMB no doubt has numerous challenges to face on a daily basis. The last thing you need (or want) is a breach caused by a cybersecurity attack. While not impossible to prevent, attacks can be mitigated, and the worst kinds – like ransomware – are avoidable. But when they do happen, how damaging are they, really?
Financial damage and numbers are the obvious things that come to mind first, understandably so. After all, a breach environment leads to downtime and service loss, both of which add up in cost fast. Right now, it’s estimated that cybersecurity as a whole (meaning both breaches and investment in the industry) will average over $10 trillion every year as costs continue to grow.
And, as environments continuously trend to remote, data, and internet-based project cycles, how we work and its security will be forever intertwined. While that’s good for productivity, it also means cyber attacks are that much more damaging. But the thing is, it’s not just financial loss.
Impacts of a cybersecurity breach
Think about a cybersecurity attack on a personal level. If you have a system that’s been infected with a virus (or similar), it’s a scary, stressful situation. Depending on the severity, several things can happen:
- You have to run anti-virus to scan the system
- Restarting the system and doing a “deep dive,” routing out the malware in safe mode
- Reinstalling software or formatting the drive, if the damage is permanent
Now, escalate that to the enterprise level. All of the mentioned problems are exacerbated and more widespread. Disruptions from a cyber attack can arrest any process, forcing downtime. But the cost impact goes farther, as mentioned.
Brand damage and consumer trust
Arguably, one of the harshest impacts post-cyberattack is the damage to a brand and consequentially, loss of consumer trust. In many cases, smaller organizations lack the capital and PR to simply brush mistakes under the rug, ignoring the consequences of regulatory action as well.
For the customer relationship element, it’s a different story. If an SMB operates with an online vendor model, the damage can prevent additional sales. Customers will feel their data is no longer safe with a company if said company cannot keep itself secure. Additionally, those consumers will potentially deal with a cyber-attack due to lost info. Even if not, the potential for an attack is a huge deterrent and a mark against an unsecured SMB.
In the aftermath, regaining customer and investor trust can prove challenging (if possible at all). This is even after a company has taken measures to prevent another cyber-attack and protected consumer data.
Decreased morale and efficiency
Internally, a cyber attack doesn’t look good either. It demonstrates a failure of the system and training measures in place. And, during and after a breach, the process can be exhausting. It can leave management in disarray, while reducing trust in the current cybersecurity infrastructure.
When staff morale is low, efficiency gets hurt too. Not just from a discouraged mindset, but complications set by malware/intrusions. In rare cases, some SMBs lack the resources to deal with malware intrusions, meaning the problem is not resolved, which then interferes with the workflow. Less efficiency, reduced production, and ultimately, a damaged bottom line.
Lack of resources
Think of suffering a cyber attack like not getting enough sleep multiple times in a row. Think of how the feeling is, how after several days its fatiguing and exhausting, and a day of less rest impacts the day’s going forward.
In a sense, that’s the long term of impact of cybersecurity, compounded by a lack of resources (not enough experts, diminished capital, lack of management/security tools).
So, in the long scheme of things, the damage caused by a cyberattack goes well beyond the loss of capital and financial resources.
When that happens, internal solutions are no longer enough. Reaching out to third-party experts, like Bytagig, can work with you for improved IT solutions. Not just for cybersecurity, but a wide range of support options too.