Last year, cyber attacks rose by 23% and cost companies an average of almost $12 million. One of the biggest cyber attacks in 2017 was the data breach of U.S credit reporting agency, Equifax. Hackers breached the personal data of approximately 145 million U.S customers, as well as about 19,000 customers in Canada and 400,000 in the U.K. Hackers, accessed information like social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses. As cyber attacks rise, it’s important for businesses to understand the consequences of attacks.

THE FINANCIAL COST

The financial impact of a cyber attack can be devastating. A 2016 report showed that cyber crimes cost the global economy approximately $600 billion annually. When companies report attacks, they can feel financial consequences right away. In the case of Equifax, company stock declined by almost a quarter two months after the report of the attack. Shares of competitors TransUnion and Experian PLC also declined at the time. The financial impact can also linger afterward. Businesses could spend millions paying out lawsuits and investigations from cyber attacks. Although businesses can recover from cyber attacks, consumers and investors might find them less trustworthy.

cyber attacks

Source: Ponemon Institute

BUSINESSES AT RISK

A recent study published by the Fisher College of Business found that companies targeted by hackers are often older, bigger and among the Fortune 500 companies. However, this does not mean that small businesses are immune to cyber attacks. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses paid ransomware hackers $301 million in 2016. Small businesses may not have the resources to fend off large attacks, which can make them a more likely target. Small businesses could also feel greater financial repercussions of a cyber attack because the financial cost to recover from an attack could cause them to go under. Overall, businesses with access to customer information and those in the financial industry are more likely to be targeted.

cyber attacks

Source: Ponemon Institute

WHAT YOU CAN DO

The best way to prevent cyber attacks is to have cyber security measures in place. The study done by Fisher College of Business showed that companies that had a committee for security efforts were less likely to be hacked than those that didn’t. Here are three ways you can start protecting yourself today:

  1. Make cyber security a part of your company’s culture by educating your employees on the threats of cyber attacks
  2. Establish strong passwords and make sure they are not the same across all accounts
  3. Backup all your data, either weekly or daily, in a secure hard drive or cloud

For additional security support, you can hire security services like Jolera’s Secure I.T.™ for an extra layer of protection and to ensure that all security is up to date.