We live in a world richly abundant in technology that we might not have dreamed of using even 30 years ago. Unfortunately, as technology becomes more sophisticated and the sheer number of endpoint devices rapidly increases, cybercriminals become more dexterous and find countless ways to find weaknesses in businesses’ IT infrastructure. A recent study from the University of Maryland found that hackers attack, on average, every 39 seconds, and over 36 billion records were exposed in 2020 alone – twice the number of records in all of 2019.
These seemingly interminable attacks cost an untold amount of money, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. An organization can be brought to its knees in more ways than just the pocketbook itself; it all depends on the nature and severity of the attack. Here are 5 of the biggest costs a business can experience when it becomes a victim of a cyberattack. A company can experience some or all of these costs post-attack, and many of them are long-lasting and difficult to overcome.
Quantifiable Monetary Losses
Of course, it’s impossible not to think about the measurable amount of money that a data breach can cost your company, and for good reason. As of last March, it has been estimated that a cyberattack costs businesses of all sizes approximately $200,000, on average. Additionally, at its current pace cybercrime is projected to cost businesses about $5.2 trillion worldwide within 5 years. Looking with a more detailed eye, this boils down to unexpected budget expenditures, drops in market value and stock prices, and plain old lost revenue.
Data Leakage and Loss of Intellectual Property
Imagine all of your business’s private data and valuable intellectual assets being stolen - or worse yet – sold to the highest bidder. For the government, this could mean pilfered top-secret blueprints to a new weapon system or, for a game developer giant, it could mean that cybercriminals purloined the latest installment of a much-loved action-adventure video game franchise, pre-release. Even more frightening is that these infiltrations might not be discovered for weeks or even months, much like the latest SolarWinds hack that occurred in late 2020. Whether it’s a patent, a product, a trade secret, or pure and simple data, a breach can cause irreparable damage to an unsuspecting company.
Loss of Productivity
Following a cyberattack, your employees, especially your IT department, will likely be consumed with handling the incident to some degree. While your IT personnel perform cleanup, find the root cause of the attack, assess and address vulnerabilities, and reinforce security as fast as possible, your other employees may be left handling delays and frustrations on the business side of the operation. Worse yet, your employees may be left without access to business-critical systems, data, or processes. This could mean that business could come to a grinding halt, depending on the severity of the attack. Every minute your staff is working to address the cyberattack and fix its aftereffects translates to measurable, often devastating financial losses.
Loss of Trust and Reputation
Immediate revenue loss is, without a doubt, harmful to any company; however, long-term consequences of a cyberattack, such as the loss of your customers’ trust or your brand becoming tarnished, are arguably worse. Following a breach, customers or partners who trusted you with their business and data may be hard-fought to win back, especially in highly-competitive markets with competitors that offer similar products or services as your business. Ultimately, this can result in your company’s integrity becoming damaged or lost, which may negatively impact your organization’s overall valuation.
Additional Monetary Losses
The actions that your company takes to reverse the damage a cyberattack has wrought can, of course, add up in various ways. You may have to deal with attorney fees from potential lawsuits or regulatory action. The public relations company that you hire to protect your brand’s image, handle crisis PR, and manage communications with regulators and stakeholders will also require payment. Additionally, your company may lose money through fines for non-compliance with privacy laws and data protection. If the cyberattack involved some form of ransomware, you may also find yourself paying ransom money for your stolen data. In time all of these actions and expenditures add up, making it more difficult to keep your business in the black.
Am I at Risk?
Absolutely. Cybercriminals don’t discriminate. Companies of all sizes and across all sectors imaginable are at risk for becoming the victims of a cyberattack. No organization is immune, including government sectors, education, healthcare, and the financial industry. Even small- to medium-sized businesses can fall victim, especially since they typically lack the support they need to fight against these attacks. (Spoiler alert: 60% of small businesses who fall victim to a cyberattack wind up closing their doors within 6 months of being compromised.)
Cybercriminals Never Sleep. Neither Does Q-Net.
Of course, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a cyberattack is to have the right cybersecurity solution in place. Often this means having a dedicated internal team of experts to constantly upgrade your software security solutions and install the latest patches. But what if you could just plug-and-play with absolutely no patches required ever? You can now, thanks to Q-Net Security. Our Q-Box is a hardsec solution that works seamlessly with any network. Simply plug it into a secure end-point, register it, and get back to business. It really is that easy!
Step up your cyber defense game. Reach out to the experts at Q-Net Security today by emailing [email protected] to learn more or get started!