As more and more cyber-attacks are taking place and affecting businesses across the country, it is important that businesses large and small look into ways to protect themselves as well as their customers or clients information.
Cyber-attacks can significantly affect businesses for a number of different reasons and as more businesses report being affected, the cost of dealing with this financially has risen to around £2.53 million in the UK.
So how exactly can a cyber-attack harm your business?
- Financial cost – The main cost of a cyber-attack is the financial cost to your business as a result of time lost, work being interrupted and potential loss of business. You will also need to invest further and put in place software, processes and strategies to rebuild your business now and protect it in future. For some businesses, particularly small ones, the cost of an attack such as this could be too much for them to bear, potentially forcing them into looking for an insolvency solution.
- Loss of information – Ransomware breaches, which have become more and more common over the last year or two, see data and information held to ransom by hackers only to be released once the ransom has been paid. This can cause significant interruption to some businesses and organisations, such as the NHS who suffered a ransomware breach earlier this year, who rely on data – in this case, patient files – to perform their day-to-day role. Any loss of information can harm a business and the data source collected over the years.
- Time – There are two ways cyber-attacks can affect time in your business, firstly any attacks can affect your ability to do your job, wasting time and potentially seeing deadlines missed. Also, you will now have to focus your time on improving the security surround your data and software which takes time and resources as well as taking some staff away from their work to develop new measures for the business. This loss of time can result in loss of profit and loss of business in some circumstances.
- Customers – When Plusnet were hacked it is estimated that they lost around 95000 customers and for many people, a hack shows a sign of weakness. Some people feel that the business has failed to keep their information safe and therefore they want to take their business elsewhere to a company who they feel will be able to keep their information safe and protected from hacks.
- Trust – Following on from the above point, customers and the public can lose trust in a company as a result of a cyber-attack on them. A loss of trust can be much more damaging than a loss of time or money for some businesses as it can take a lot to win back the trust of the general public. Changing perceptions about a company is difficult and takes time, effort and money with a positive message and a sensitive marketing campaign. In many ways, losing trust can be the worst effect of a cyber-attack on a business.
What can you do to prepare your business for a potential cyber-attack?
So what can you do to prepare and protect your business against any future cyber-attacks? As cyber-attacks become more and more common, all business should be looking into protection for their data and their software, if they haven’t already put something in place. Businesses should be:
- Assessing the potential risks to their business by looking into any threats, the vulnerabilities in their software and the likelihood that their business or sector is likely to be targeted by hackers.
- Taking advice from professionals on the state of their current cyber security set up to obtain an independent view of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Putting together strategies to ensure they meet any cyber security controls set out in law or through standards agencies.
- Planning and testing their systems and the responses they have in place to breaches of data to ensure that if a cyber-attack does happen to their business, they are prepared to respond as quickly as possible hopefully minimising damage to their company and their reputation.
- Committed to continuous improvement of their cyber security and the contingency processes they have in place. This will ensure that everyone in the company understands the risks of cyber-attacks and knows exactly how they can help to keep their organisation, and the data it holds, secure.
By ensuring that you are aware of the threats of cyber-attacks on your business and working towards putting in place good procedures and systems, this should help to safeguard your business now and in the future in many areas across your company.
If a cyber-attack has adversely affected your business and its liquidity position, get in touch with us on 0800 901 2475. Our knowledgeable advisers can offer you all the help and advice you need to help deal with your business’ current situation.