Every organization has a lot of things that could go wrong in the course of doing business. They can run into supply chain issues, employee turnover and poor performance, natural disasters interrupting your “business as usual”, but one of the most unassuming, yet worrisome threats to your business is the cyberattack. This month, we go into a few ways cyberthreats threaten your business and how they play out to give you an idea of how to prepare.
How Cyberattacks Threaten Your Business
Cyberattacks affect businesses differently than any other threats and have the widest array of outcomes. Cyberattacks are generally attempts to gain access to a business’ technology to steal data, steal money, or extort business owners. This can set up a lot of very frustrating scenarios for business owners and managers. These include:
The bottom line is always a factor and cyberthreats threaten the financial stability of your company. They do this in two very distinct ways.
- Through Data Breaches – Cyberattacks and a data breach can result in the theft or exposure of sensitive customer and company data. This can lead to financial losses due to regulatory fines, legal liabilities, and the pain and cost of notifying affected individuals.
- Ransomware – Ransomware attacks can encrypt a company’s data and demand a ransom for decryption keys. Paying the ransom can lead to direct financial losses, and if the data is not recovered, it can result in lost revenue and productivity.
There isn’t much that can hurt a business quite like an event that causes its clientele to sour on it. Cyberattacks can be a major red flag as they often result in personal information being stolen and leaked or sold. There are two common cyberattack scenarios that cause reputational damage. They are:
- Outside Data Breach – A publicized data breach can damage a company’s reputation and erode customer trust. Customers may be hesitant to do business with a company that can’t protect their sensitive information.
- Sabotage – When insider threats result in data leaks or malicious actions, the organization’s reputation can be tarnished. It may be perceived as negligent in its hiring and security practices.
Cyberattacks not only present surface challenges, they present operational challenges. When an organization is unable to access systems or is deliberately attacked it can make it practically impossible to continue business-as-usual. Here are two types of attacks that can hinder productivity:
- DDoS Attacks – Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can overwhelm a company’s online services and make them inaccessible. This disrupts normal business operations, leading to downtime and potentially loss of revenue.
- Malware and Phishing – Malware infections and phishing attacks can compromise employee devices and networks, causing operational disruptions as IT teams work to remediate any issue that occurs.
Legal and Regulatory Consequences
One aspect of the cyberthreat that may not be immediately evident is the role it plays in regard to regulatory compliance. There are very specific requirements written by governing bodies that require certain security benchmarks to be reached. If those aren’t, and your organization is the victim of a cyberattack, it can be problematic for these two reasons:
- Non-compliance – Regulatory bodies often require companies to implement specific cybersecurity measures and protect customer data. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and legal penalties.
Lawsuits – Customers or business partners affected by cyberattacks may file lawsuits seeking damages for any harm suffered. Legal battles can be expensive and time-consuming for the company.
In order to ensure that you maintain cybersecurity, you need to have a strategy. The IT professionals at Symmetric IT Group can assess your business and help you develop security strategies that can keep cyberthreats at bay. Give us a call today at 813-749-0895 to learn more.