The impacts of a cyber attack can be devastating, and many executives are now recognizing cybersecurity as a key business driver. A recent report from Radware surveyed executives worldwide and found that security remains a top priority in the enterprise, with 72% of executives citing information security as a recurring agenda topic in every board meeting. With the rise of cyber attacks and data breaches, it’s getting more important for businesses understand the impacts these attacks can have on their operations.

Source: Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report

Cyber Attacks and Your Business

Cyber attacks are no longer just the problem of the IT department. A single cyber attack can cripple an entire business’s operations. Organizations cannot ignore the long reaching effects of cyber attacks. Here are 5 ways a cyber attack can negatively impact your business.

1. Revenue loss: Cyber attacks like DDoS attacks can cripple websites and render them unusable for customers. Customers who are unable to access a business’s online store may look to a competitor to make their purchases. Cyber attacks can also lead to future revenue loss if customers decide they no longer want to do business with the company.

2. Brand reputation: Brand reputation is not only important for a business’s customer relationships but also for their relationships with other businesses and stakeholders. Building trust is an integral part of an organization’s relationship with others. A single cyber attack can cause damage to a brand’s reputation. Consumers will not want to do business with an organization that puts their information at risk. As a result, stakeholders will not want to invest in your business. Research from Bitglass has found that publicly traded companies suffer an average drop of 7.5% in their stock values after a breach and that it takes an average of 46 days for stock prices to return to their pre-breach levels.

3. Operational disruptions: Cyber attacks can cause service disruptions to an organization’s infrastructure. Organizations can either shut down due to an attack or be forced to divert their efforts into stopping the attack. Actions like having to unplug and isolate computers as well locating threats, negotiating ransoms, restoring backups, removing viruses, etc. disrupts business productivity. Additional activities like having to conduct investigations and implementing new resources can also cause additional disruptions after an attack.

4. Hidden financial costs: Cyber attacks have many hidden costs that can cause an attack to cost more than just the initial damage. For example, when Wasaga Beach got hit by ransomware, they paid a negotiated ransom of nearly $35,000. However, the cost of the attack didn’t stop there. The town had to hire consultants and make changes to their IT infrastructure. Overtime and productivity losses also added extra costs. Overall, the ransomware attack cost the town $251,759. That’s more than seven times the amount the town negotiated to pay for their ransomed servers. Other hidden costs can also include legal fees, PR/communications strategies and compliance penalties.

5. Loss of Data: Cyber attacks put your data at risk. Hackers can steal any kinds of data, including those from your customers and employees. Once your data is in the wrong hands a number of things can occur. Hackers can hold it for ransom, sell it on the dark web or use it in other malicious ways. Hackers not only target personal identifiable information but also intellectual property. Information regarding product designs, marketing campaigns, strategies and blueprints can also be at risk. Losing this type of data can affect the competitiveness of your business.

How to Protect Your Business

No matter the size of your business, cybersecurity protection is vital. Using advanced cybersecurity solutions like Jolera’s Secure IT, combined with cyber aware staff, can help protect your business and prevent these kinds of attacks.