Most business transactions are currently executed online, and if an organisation falls victim of a cyber-attack and customer data and information gets stolen, the organisation will be the one accountable for the data breach. As online transactions always require the exchange of sensitive information such as card numbers, companies can find themselves in a great deal of trouble if they do not have a cybersecurity plan in place in the event of a cyber-attack. Even though the risks of cyber-attacks are well-known, many small businesses are have not taken the essential steps to prevent them in the first place. In fact, despite data breaches rising at exorbitant rates each year, Juniper Research’s Cybercrime & the Internet of Threats 2018 report anticipates that cybersecurity spending will only increase by 9% on average per company, per year.
Following some of the biggest data breaches in the UK, cybersecurity has become an increasingly popular topic. Some of the main reasons why cybersecurity is becoming a priority for small businesses are:
The increasing cost of security breaches. The financial effect of cyber-attacks on businesses is substantial, as it has been shown that these not only cause financial damage to the organisation but can also have a negative impact on the brand reputation. Existing customers can lose trust in the brand and potential customers might not want to become involved with the organisation if they feel like their personal information is not safe, costing the business a loss in profit.
Risk of data theft. With more and more companies supporting flexible work environments and allowing employees to work remotely and with their own personal devices, the risk of cyber-attacks has increased. Businesses can also experience data breaches when an employee is using a device on an unsecured and open network. However, these attacks can be prevented by introducing relevant policies in the workplace and by using reliable VPN solutions to ensure confidential data is encrypted.
Accountability for customers’ data. The risks during a cyber-attack are not just linked to the organisation’s private information, but also to customers’ sensitive data. Customers give organisations personal information as they trust it won’t get stolen by any other party; for this reason, many businesses are encrypting their webpages with SSL certificates to make sure that all the details submitted to pages are encrypted and safe.
Brand reputation. Brand reputation is one of the most vital aspects for a business to protect in the online world. If a business or website is victim of a cyber-attack and exposes customers’ confidential information, then the organisation will be at higher risk or losing their customers’ trust, which can impact the overall revenue of the business in the long run. If the reputation of the business is compromised, then a lot of money will have to be spent on hiring a PR agency to try to restore people’s trust in the brand.
IoT devices. IoT devices can speed up business-related tasks, but they can also provide hackers with another way to hack businesses (Read more about IoT in the workplace here). IoT devices can represent a big security weakness, that can cost an organisation a lot of money in case of a cyber-attack. According to the Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime global study by Accenture, security breaches have increased by 11% over just the past year; the same study has found that cybercrime is increasing, takes more time to resolve and is more expensive for organisations. For this reason, organisations should always check all the IoT devices connected to their network for vulnerabilities.
The issue with cyber-attacks is that it is more difficult to quantify cyber-risks than other business-related risks, and it is also more difficult to know when an organisation is truly prepared to address a cyber-attack. According to a study of CEOs released by KPMG, half of the CEOs interviewed suggested that their organisations are not prepared or only partly prepared to deal with a cyber-attack; furthermore, only one-fifth of the CEOs considered cybersecurity to be at the top of their list of business concerns. While larger businesses are often under greater risk of undergoing a cyber-attack, even smaller companies need to be prepared and make cybersecurity a business priority. At Elite you can invest in a reliable network for your business to increase your online security and have a safe connection. Take a look at or connectivity solutions here: