When we think of cybercrimes against businesses, it can be easy only to consider the immediate effect: the data that is stolen by hackers during the breach.
However, there is actually far more to think about. Here we take a look at some of the other issues surrounding cyber-attacks and how they can damage different aspects of organisations.
There can be no doubt that one of the biggest challenges of facing any kind of cybercrime is that it will cost a great deal of money to rectify. Firstly, it may be the case that the attack has stolen money directly from your business, such as in those attacks that target your own accounts – for example, a business email compromise attack.
But beyond this immediate cost, it is also very expensive to manage the ongoing rehabilitation of your site and systems. Typically, this will involve further security works and upgrades to your defences, which may involve costly analysis into how the attack took place, and how you can potentially remedy it.
Problems for SEO
Here’s one that many businesses don’t even think about, or even realise until many months after the attack has taken place: cybercrime damages your SEO work. Optimising your site for search engines like Google can be a very delicate business, with small changes making a big difference to where your site ranks.
So, when your site experiences an event such as a hack or a period of significant downtime due to the crime being remediated – this has serious knock on effects. For example, content changes on a hacked site or a Google warning that your site has been hacked can lead to you losing ranking positions.
Losing customer confidence
There are two ways that getting hacked will affect customer confidence in your business. Firstly, current customers can have their data stolen – and it can be very difficult to place any kind of trust in an organisation that has already failed to protect your private information once.
But in addition to this, when potential customers considering buying from you hear that you have been hacked, it can make them think twice. If you struggle to gain new businesses because the public feels that your security measures cannot be trusted
Remember that it’s not just customers who can lose faith in your business. Getting hacked is big issue for your reputation. If your business becomes known as an easy target then you are just as likely to face cyber attacks in the future. Not to mention the fact that getting hacked can weaken your relationship with partners, suppliers, and even members of staff.
Businesses live and die by their reputations, so you need to do everything you can to protect yours from damage being caused by a hack.
One of the major issues surrounding a data breach is that you can fall foul of compliance with legislation if you fail to take the correct steps. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs businesses’ requirements in relation to protecting the data of customer and staff, and if you have not done enough to keep personal data secure you can be in breach of the regulations.
For example, the GDPR stipulates that your business must inform any parties who have been affected by the breach within 72 hours of discovering the breach. This means that you need to have robust systems in place to be able to understand the nature of the breach and which files have been accessed.
It is also very common to have intellectual property stolen during a systems breach. Given the fact that IP can be the USP of a business, losing this kind of critical IP can cause serious problems, especially if your business works in the technology or pharmaceutical industries.
If this applies to you then you need to take steps in order to ensure that you are as resistant to cyber attacks as possible.
Cybercrime is about so much more than the data that is stolen. You can lose customer confidence, SEO hard work, and even money due to an everyday attack on your system. It is, unfortunately, the case that the onus is now on businesses to ensure that they are protected at all times. It may be a good idea for you to work alongside cybersecurity specialists to ensure you are protected at all times.
About the Author: Chester Avey
Chester Avey has over a decade of experience in cybersecurity and business growth consultant. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other like-minded professionals through his writing. Find out what else Chester has been up to on Twitter: @Chester15611376.