With the rise in technology, businesses have many opportunities to employ better, more effective solutions. There has also been a sharp increase in the use of these technologies for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, nearly one-third of all businesses in the United States have suffered from a data breach. Moreover, these breaches are very costly. The average cost of a data breach is $200,000. And while over half of cyberattacks target small businesses, only about 14% of these businesses are prepared to defend against a cyberattack.
With figures such as these, there is a solid case for using cybersecurity protocols as an asset when building your business. When you prioritize cybersecurity, your business benefits in multiple ways, such as:
Enhanced Brand Image
There is a strong correlation between brand image and data breaches. If your company suffers from a data breach without the proper protections in place, you can expect to experience massive losses. Target suffered a data breach in 2013, and consumer perception declined by 54.6% the following year. Even five years after the breach, in 2018, consumer confidence in the retailer had not rebounded to the pre-breach levels.
A study looking at consumer attitudes related to data breaches found that over half of consumers consider security a primary consideration when purchasing products or services. The same amount said they would consider paying more for the same products or services from a company with better security measures.
The bottom line is that many companies cannot withstand the hit to the brand image that comes with a data breach. Reduced consumer confidence often translates into reduced sales and profits. With robust cybersecurity protocols in place, you can retain business better and even attract new clients who prioritize security measures. Strong cybersecurity is the foundation of trust in modern business relationships.
The vast majority – 87% – of business leaders understand that solid cybersecurity protocols increase profitability and long-term business viability. Understanding this fundamental aspect of cybersecurity is crucial. Many organizations have underfunded cybersecurity teams because it is viewed as a cost item only and one that doesn’t generate revenue.
But in light of the data supporting a cyberattack’s costliness, organizations must assess how much underfunded cybersecurity can cost them. Data breaches are far more costly than implementing robust cybersecurity protocols.
If your business suffers a malware or ransomware attack, your operations will likely be shut down for a period of time (how long depends upon the scope and severity of the attack). Even adware and spam emails can have a negative impact on employee productivity by distracting them from their routine tasks. Many cyberattacks also prevent websites from operating normally, thus also preventing online sales.
The bottom line is that sound cybersecurity protocols protect your right to stay profitable. Preventing an attack minimizes downtime. It also protects profits, meaning there is inherent business value in cybersecurity.
The cost of implementing strong cybersecurity protocols with a managed IT service provider is often far less than the costs associated with being a victim of a cybercrime. In addition to the decrease in sales that many businesses suffer related to their brand image suffering a decline, there is a myriad of other costs, such as:
- The costs related to lost, stolen, or destroyed data. You may have to devote much employee time to recreate files that were previously intact.
- The cost of a ransom in cases of a ransomware attack. In many instances, the only way to protect or regain access to your data is by paying an expensive ransom.
- Costs associated with the theft of intellectual property. If you have proprietary knowledge or data that is lost to cybercriminals, you may lose your competitive advantage, too, which means you will likely suffer financial losses for the foreseeable future.
- Costs of downtime and disruption to operations in the aftermath of an attack.
- Loss of investor trust, which may interrupt your ability to secure capital required to maintain or grow operations.
- Legal costs associated with the attack, including forensic investigation costs and restoration costs.
- Fines if you fail to meet any regulatory compliance requirements, such as HIPAA or GDPR.
The actual cost of a cyberattack on your business can vary. It depends upon what is lost and what efforts need to be taken to mitigate the loss. But these costs almost certainly exceed what would be required to prevent an attack from occurring in the first place.
Greater Employee Confidence
Customers aren’t the only ones who value security measures. During cyberattacks, sensitive employee information is often lost, too. When employees do not feel that their information is properly safeguarded or they see employers being lax with security protocols, it can cause a loss of faith in the employer. Lack of confidence in an employer’s ability to successfully maintain their business is one of the top reasons for employee turnover.
The cost of hiring and onboarding when you have high turnover can quickly add up. When security is prioritized through cybersecurity protocols, it can inspire greater faith by employees, leading to higher retention rates.
Cybersecurity’s Role in Building a Business
No business – and especially not one that is focused on growing – can afford to treat cybersecurity like an afterthought. It must be central to operations. Further, it can be used as a strategy to help grow your business. By prioritizing cybersecurity, you can inspire greater confidence by both employees and customers, which decreases operational costs associated with hiring and training while increasing sales and profits.
You can also rest easy knowing that your business won’t be hit with a cyberattack, which is costly in terms of mitigation and a tarnished brand image. Even simple acts, like training employees on cybersecurity measures, can result in a decrease of up to 20% in the likelihood of certain types of attacks, such as a phishing attack. The reality is that cybersecurity isn’t just a good idea; it makes a ton of business sense, too.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.