Many security experts recognize that it is only a matter of time before a specific company is targeted in today’s digital economy. Business owners and managers must realize that the question then comes when – not if – they will be at the receiving end of an attack. While efforts such as employee security training and defensive measures can go a long way in preventing a data breach, it’s still crucial to develop a cybersecurity incident response (IR) plan. There are multiple reasons this type of planning can benefit the company.
No company is exempt from cybersecurity threats. Having an established cybersecurity incident response plan can guide the course of action immediately after a security breach. IR plans often involve documenting the course of action, delivering training so that everyone can respond quickly, and conducting drills to practice the various threat scenarios.
Having a written plan with well-defined procedures helps everyone understand their role in incident response and outlines the key actions that must be taken. These actions can minimize the scope of damage and financial losses after an attack. The IR plan comes down to protecting three essential elements to your company’s success: its data, reputation, and profits.
In a data-based economy, all information is a commodity. There is more data readily available than at any other time in human history. Personal protected information is often stolen and sold on the dark web, resulting in over 1.4 million identity theft cases in 2020, a number that is over double the previous year’s figure. Cybercriminals steal this information to apply for government benefits, obtain driver’s licenses and passports, or access financial resources. The average financial losses vary from victim to victim but resulted in over $3.3 billion losses in 2020. The average losses resulting from data breaches for small businesses range from $34,000 to $200,000 per incident.
The bottom line is that you must prioritize data protection. Few companies can financially weather the storm when it comes to a significant data breach. Knowing that these breaches can result in financial losses for customers and employees can result in major damage to your company’s reputation. While an IR plan cannot prevent an attack, it can help you to have secure backup data resources, security alerts that detect malicious activity to identify threats properly, and a strong plan to respond to many types of attacks. Taken together, these elements can ensure that your company’s and customer data remains more secure. This benefit can help ensure the continued success of your business.
Protecting Customer Confidence and Trust
Any business owner knows that a huge component in running a successful business is building consumer confidence in your company. This process results in a strong reputation and can help you culminate customer loyalty, even if competitors may be able to offer a better price. Customer trust is more important than ever before, with the majority (81%) of consumers reporting that trust is a deal-breaker or major deciding factor in making purchasing decisions.
Trust is important in business, but owners and managers must recognize that this trust can be shattered instantly. Up to 87% of consumers are willing to take their business elsewhere if a data breach occurs. Even though a data breach isn’t the business owner’s fault, customers often believe that the company could have done more to protect the data after finding out about a breach. While some companies have built back customer trust after a major breach successfully, it is far more effective. It costs less to simply implement measures that prevent a data breach from happening in the first place.
It should be noted that major companies often can survive a data breach since they have more financial resources to devote to addressing the situation. Many small businesses do not have this luxury. Most security breaches – 95% – occur at small businesses, and up to 60% of these businesses will close after experiencing the breach. These statistics paint a stark picture; small businesses are a top target, and even one major breach is enough to lose everything that may have taken years or decades to build.
This article has alluded to the fact that data breaches are costly. But many business owners don’t understand the magnitude of these costs. After a breach has occurred, the business often has to pay notification costs to follow up with customers, forensic investigations, and industry fines and penalties. These direct costs add up quickly. But on top of these costs, many companies have to pay their customers to compensate them for fees related to card replacement, credit monitoring, and identity theft-related expenses.
Suppose these expenses don’t cause the business to close. In that case, most companies can expect a decrease in sales and profits immediately after a breach, and they must devote additional resources to building back customer trust. While the cost of additional security measures may seem prohibitive, it’s essential to recognize how essential security is to long-term success. Moreover, many small businesses can partner with a managed IT service provider to keep security costs lower than they would be otherwise.
Cybersecurity response plans are an important security element. But for many companies that have been lucky enough to go without a security incident thus far, the thought of developing a cybersecurity incident response plan can be intimidating. This is another area where the expertise of a managed IT service provider can come into play. These providers often have the knowledge and skills to understand the key actions that must be taken to protect your data, your company’s reputation, and your profits. To learn more about developing a cybersecurity incident response plan, contact Sagacent Technologies today. Our team can help you create a plan that will let you focus on building your business rather than worrying about a data breach.
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.