Cyberattacks have become a daily occurrence for companies, organizations, and individuals. They are constantly happening, but unfortunately, many companies have not taken the proper steps to protect themselves. If an attack is successful, or there is a breach due to an error, the results can be disastrous for any company, no matter what size.
Cybercriminals are working around the clock to access data for illegal means. It might be to hold it ransom or to commit identity theft. Whatever the reason, you and your employees must be diligent and do whatever you can to keep your data safe. Here are six consequences of data breaches on companies to give you a sense of what will happen if you don’t.
Loss of Reputation
When people search online for your company, you want your website to show up. That way, they can visit it, get information, and hopefully purchase your products or services. However, it would be a serious problem if they search for your brand and find news articles and public forums talking about a data breach.
The internet is forever, and a data breach that happened even a decade ago can still reflect poorly on your brand. If that happens, your marketing team will need to work very hard to push those negative results from the search engine rankings. Plus, you could have negative comments and reviews all over your social media platforms. You can certainly launch a public relations offensive to help clear your brand’s image, but that will take significant investments of time and money. Trust is everything for a brand, and it is very hard to build it back.
Loss of Sales
Why is trust everything for a brand? Customers, especially when shopping online, want to know that their information is safe before they commit to purchasing something. Also, a data breach doesn’t only affect their information. It can also affect their view of how you will treat them as a customer. If you are lax with data, then how can they be sure that your products are as good as you say they are, for example.
When your sales team is talking to prospects and even previously loyal customers, they will have to answer questions about your breaches. You will no doubt find that many of them end up going to competitors that do not have a history of breaches. Your sales could plummet, and you will find yourself in financial trouble.
A data breach can also lead to delays and interruptions of productivity. You will have to investigate the cause of the breach and determine how to protect yourself from future ones. You may have to update systems and put new security measures in place, such as enterprise password vault solutions. Some companies have had to shut down entirely for a period of time while they get everything back to normal. In the case of a ransomware attack, a company may need to completely overhaul all of its operating systems and applications to get back up and running again.
Potential Staffing Issues
An unfortunate side effect of a data breach is that you will almost certainly lose staff. For example, if a manager or executive did not have sufficient processes in place to prevent cyberattacks, then they may have to be let go. The same could be said for an employee who handled data unsafely. Plus, some staff will simply quit rather than deal with the stress of the situation.
It is already hard enough to find talented workers, and you will have several holes to fill. However, you will also have a reputation as being susceptible to data breaches. Skilled and experienced professionals will be less likely to want to work for you for that reason, meaning you will either have a weaker team or have to pay more to get talent on board.
Your company won’t be the only victim of a data breach. If you keep customer or patient information, those people may be at risk. Unfortunately, if people are harmed, they can bring legal action against you. Even if you are eventually not found liable, you will still have to pay for legal costs and go through the stress and hassle of a litigation process.
Loss of Data
You shouldn’t overlook the loss of the data itself as a consequence of a data breach. Your company probably uses customer data for marketing purposes or to provide better customer service. Losing that data could be a blow to your business functions and find you scrambling to keep up.
Data is an asset for any company, and your customers trust you to keep it safe. You should be doing everything you can to make sure that it is always secure. Failure to do that could lead to serious consequences for your company.