Protecting your business from a major incident is crucial for companies of all sizes.
When you think of the term “cyber security,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hi-tech firewalls or data encryptions? Protecting your network from intruders? While those are certainly important elements of cyber security, there is a whole lot more that goes along with it, much of which—to the surprise of many—encompasses much more than just the latest technologies.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security, as defined by technology expert Cory Janssen, refers to “preventative methods used to protect information from being stolen, compromised or attacked.” In addition to information security, cyber security constitutes areas like application and network security, user education, cyber security training and disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A comprehensive cyber security strategy not only governs your business’s information technology, but really the way your company operates in all facets.
Why is Cyber Security So Important?
Because cyber attacks and data breaches can occur from a number of different places—both internally and externally—businesses of all sizes across all industries must develop and implement a cyber security strategy in order to protect themselves against a major incident. A data breach can cause serious damage to a company’s bottom line and its reputation.
Cost of a Data Breach
Depending on the size and significance, the costs associated with security breaches can be immense. A study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that in 2014, the average cost per data breach in the U.S. was $5.85M. The cost for just one record of compromised data alone was $201. Think about that: imagine how high the cost would be if your company had to pay $201 per record of sensitive data.
There are both direct and indirect costs associated with security breaches. Direct costs will typically include the costs involved with directly ameliorating the damage, such as hiring computer forensics experts, paying for administrative support of a hotline, and, oftentimes, providing complimentary credit monitoring services to impacted users. Indirect costs involve areas like internal investigations, employee turnover and losses in revenue stemming from lost customers and the expected drop-off in new customer acquisition.
Lost Sales and Damaged Reputation
After the highly-publicized data breaches from Target and Home Depot, how likely were you to quickly return to those stores to purchase goods? While the data breach would theoretically result in both corporations ramping up cyber security measures to ensure data protection, losing the trust of customers is highly damaging to a company’s bottom line. Ponemon Institute’s study also estimated that the average cost due to lost business as a result of a data breach was $3.25M for companies in the U.S. in 2014.
Not only are companies that fall victim to data breaches losing money because of lost customers, they are also incurring high costs while attempting to repair their damaged reputations. This often involves investing more money in marketing and public relations, offering products and services at a high discount and an overall increase in money and time spent on generating new leads from new sources.
A Cyber Security Mindset for Everyone
While it is easy to say “I’m not in IT, so I don’t concern myself with cyber security,” the wide-ranging impacts a security breach can have clearly show the importance of cyber security to the business as a whole. All employees need to be security conscious and understand the role they play in protecting their business’s data. You can have the best security software in the world, but it will not be effective without the proper policies, procedures and employee cooperation to go along with it.
For more information on the importance of cyber security as well as actionable advice and tips on developing and implementing a cyber security strategy, check out our e-Guide Cyber Security-How to Protect Your Business from a Major Incident:
What are some of the biggest challenges your company faces when it comes to cyber security strategy and policies? What methods or tactics have been successful and which ones have not worked so well? We’d love to hear your take in the comments below.
If you have any questions about the importance of cyber security or want to learn more about developing and implementing a cyber security strategy for your business, contact us today to speak with an experienced IT Security advisor.