It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and what better time to educate yourself about data breaches? There were 1,244 breaches reported in 2018 alone, and small and mid-size businesses are just as much at risk as big-name companies. Unfortunately, plenty of businesses are content to ignore security breaches – but you really can’t afford to.
Here’s what you need to know about data breaches, and how to protect yourself:
The Numbers on Data Breaches
Are data breaches really that big of a threat? The numbers speak for themselves. The average data breach costs US companies $7.91 million. Part of the reason for the huge cost is that data breaches can be difficult to detect if you’re not looking for them; in fact, companies take an average of 190 days or more to identify a data breach. Think about the amount of damage hackers can inflict on your business in that time.
Think this is just a mega-corporation issue? Small and mid-size companies aren’t immune. Small businesses account for 58 percent of data breach victims, and they often lack the resources of an enterprise company to combat an attack. Every company, no matter how big or small, needs to take the danger of data breaches seriously.
Why Are You a Target?
You may think you have nothing of value, but think about the data you store every day:
- Employees’ birthdates, Social Security numbers and other personal information
- Client names, email addresses and phone numbers
- Banking information, including account and routing numbers
- Credit card numbers
All of this data is valuable to cybercriminals, and you need to store it to conduct your business. But with that data comes the responsibility to protect it properly.
Why Businesses Ignore Breaches
If breaches are so common and have such significant consequences, why do so many businesses completely ignore them? There are a couple of reasons for this.
One is the lack of an immediate financial impact. Even when a business owner realizes that data is missing, money hasn’t always been directly stolen from the company. Businesses without a defined response strategy may not think they have the time or resources to react, so the problem falls below other priorities and is ultimately overlooked. Some companies may even ignore a data breach due to fear of backlash or confusion about their responsibility to notify customers.
The Danger of Ignoring Breaches
Of course, ignoring issues doesn’t make them go away. In fact, the dangers of ignoring a data breach are immense. Some of the consequences of a breach are:
Lost business. By giving you their personal information, consumers are implicitly expressing trust in your business. If you betray that trust by failing to take every precaution, it can be extremely hard to win back.
Stolen or lost records. A data breach can result in lost or stolen data, or your employees could be completely blocked from accessing data, as in the case of a ransomware attack. Any of these outcomes means major costs, both in downtime and recovering or replacing any lost data.
Noncompliance and legal action. Failing to meet the data privacy standards in your industry can result in steep noncompliance fines. Customers whose data was exposed in a breach may also pursue legal action against your company, especially if you failed to notify them in a timely manner.
How We Can Help
Data breaches can be scary, but they don’t have to be inevitable. We protect your business with a comprehensive suite of security solutions to block or contain even sophisticated cyberattacks. Plus, we educate you and your employees on ways to minimize the chances of a breach. Contact us today to start defending your data.