What do Marriott Hotels, Macy’s, and British Airways have in common? They’re all big companies that suffered a major data breach in 2018. Considering the scope of consumer data leaked (e.g., 500 million of Marriott International’s guests data), news of these companies’ massive breaches were, of course, widely reported.
Cybercriminals also targeted smaller businesses in 2018. The only difference is that many SMB security incidents didn’t receive as much media coverage as the bigger companies’. But make no mistake: their profitability was impacted, and they also suffered the following consequences after getting attacked.
Data loss There are several forms of malware that can corrupt, destroy, or steal business data. Ransomware encrypts data and holds it for ransom; virus corrupts files; and a phishing email tricks users into downloading malicious files or providing sensitive business information by clicking a link to a spoofed website. Losing valuable business data has dire consequences whether you own or operate a small or big company.
Hackers may take different approaches, but in most cases, they share common goals: steal data and profit from it or destroy it for any number of reasons. They have little to lose and plenty to gain, which is why they stop at nothing to get their hands on data, whether it’s from a Fortune 500 company or an SMB like yours.
The effects of cyberattacks such as data loss are only the beginning of a business owner’s headaches. As word of the breach and its catastrophic impacts get out, the company ought to plan ahead.
Suppose a retail business’s customer database is breached. The company must halt the breach at once and take steps to ensure no harm will be done to the leaked data. But it’s not within a company’s CEO’s or its IT team’s capacity to prevent hackers from, say, selling stolen data on the dark web or exposing sensitive personal or financial information to the public. Customers will understandably get distraught and in a worst-case scenario, may even file a lawsuit.
Legal fees aren’t the only costs associated with cyberattacks. Businesses will also have to notify clients, recover lost data, and incur other costs associated with an attack. Companies may also lose a few days’ worth of income to repair or replace damaged IT systems. Businesses like Macy’s can easily cover these costs, but a smaller retail store may not. Being attacked ultimately leads to a significant loss of money, which could have been spent on growth projects and other worthwhile causes.
What SMBs can do
A company learns important lessons on data safety and the nature of cybercrime when their systems are hacked. Some businesses may not even survive a single cyberattack, but fortunately, there are numerous ways to protect yours.
If strengthening your IT’s defenses sounds overwhelming, enlist the help of IT consultants who can build a fortress around your network. Cybersecurity specialists can install managed firewalls, monitor your systems 24/7, ensure automatic operating system updates on all your devices, and more.
And should you suffer a cyberattack, you can follow the example of British Airways, which immediately took action in response to the breach by notifying their hundreds of thousands of customers about the incident. They also provided useful instructions to customers on how to prevent their info from getting compromised further.
The bottom line is that the amount of effort to deal with the consequences of a cyberattack is exponentially greater than the amount of effort to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.
It’s crucial for SMBs to remember that hackers do not just target large organizations. inrsITe’s Managed Services providers can design a comprehensive cybersecurity system for your organization in Brandon, Tampa, Plant City, and Lakeland so your business is always safe and sound. Just give us a call!