Cyber Security Month 2018 – The Biggest Threat to UK Businesses
Companies such as ourselves and the government are working to make operating online a safer place, but we can all do our part to help create a safe space.
In this article we’re going to discuss the impact cyber security can have on your business, your customers and what the consequences of adopting a relaxed approach to minimal security measures can be.
Cyber Security Effects your Business
Cyber attacks affect both large and small businesses alike. Larger businesses have the financial backing to recover from an attack, but reputation cannot be recovered by just throwing money at a problem. 47% of small businesses have registered at least one cyber attack in the last 12 months and 7 out of 10 businesses globally are unprepared for a cyber-attack (Computer Weekly).
A successful cyber-attack can have a huge impact on your business not only financially but mentally in the perception of your customers. When we analyse how a lack of cyber security measures can affect your business, we’ll break it down into three categories; financial, reputation or perception and finally legal.
What are the Economic Effects?
- The first and most obvious thought people associate with a cyber attack on a business is the financial impact. Financial loss can come from:
- Corporate identity theft
- Theft of financial information (bank statements, card details)
- Theft of money (from the above)
- Disruption of trading
- Loss of business (customers, contracts, suppliers)
- Finally, the cost of repairing cyber attack (new measures, network, staff)
What Damage can a Cyber Attack have on your reputation?
Maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is key to success. Repeat business, attracting new customers as well as being seen in a positive light could all disappear with a cyber-attack. Your reputation will not only affect customers – your relationships with suppliers, partners, clients and investors could also be negatively affected.
What are the Legal Implications?
Following the recent GDPR update and the crack down on data protection and privacy laws, it is essential that you manage your customers and staff’s personal data with extreme care. If this data is stolen or compromised and the correct measures are not in place to counteract an attack, you’ll face fines and sanctions which increase in prices depending on the severity of the data release. Can you afford to take this risk?
How Does it Affect Your Customers?
Cyber attacks not only impact your business directly, they can also pose a significant threat to your customers, a leak of their data means they will have to go through a series of measure to ensure they’re not dramatically affected. We’ve already touched upon their loss of respect for your business but the knock-on impacts of their data being misused include:
- Time spent fixing the data or devices that have been affected
- Time spent contacting their bank and insurers to resolve incorrect transactions
- Time spent reporting the crime
- Loss of valuable information (monetary and sentimental value)
- Emotional harm (blackmail, extortion)
- Time spent alerting others you’ve been the victim of a hack
How can businesses manage risks?
To summarise, security breaches can result in significant costs and damages to your reputation not to mention the knock-on effects that your customers will need to deal with.
Managing your cyber security is the same as your security for your bricks and mortar store. We often ask business owners would you have a relaxed approach to physical security in an area with a high crime rate. We’ll go into greater detail on the management of security and how to combat security breaches in part 4.