13 Nov Lack of Cyber Security: Risks and Consequences
Main Consequences of not having Cyber Security
In this day and age cyber security should be a top priority in companies of all types and sizes. The number of threats and their sophistication is increasing by the day.
Data has become the lifeblood of most organisations and the major driver of both day-to-day operations and top-level decision making. Security breaches that lead to loss of data can result in a catastrophe.
A company should look at a security strategy which is multifaceted – covering: networks, servers, workstations, cloud, applications and data. Not taking cyber security seriously can lead to irreparable reputational damage, fines and issues with licensing in case of regulated businesses, adverse media coverage, increased anxiety and stress levels in the workforce and problems related to areas such as GDPR.
More often than not, cyber attacks result in direct loss of revenue.
Unauthorised access into digital properties is usually the result of misconfigurations, a lack of education of Human Resources, inadequate security measures in place and an overall ‘never-going-to-happen-to-me’ attitude towards cyber security.
The top 3 consequences of not having cyber security in your organisation follow.
It is common practice amongst Black hat hackers to ask for ransom money when they infiltrate and access an organisation’s system and its core datasets. More often than not, this leads to the shutting down of the victim company’s entire IT infrastructure and business critical systems to isolate the damage, investigate and recover to a working state again. Companies that do not have basic disaster recovery procedures, such as keeping up-to-date backups, may take weeks or even months to recuperate from the blow and to recover all their lost data.
Needless to say, these disruptions to a business’ operations, negatively impact productivity and have a trickle-down effect – customers will leave the organisation resulting in additional loss of revenue.
Data breaches involving clients’, partners’ or prospects’ personal information can lead to lawsuits against the affected company. In recent years, such lawsuits have been featured regularly in business and tech news across the globe. These lawsuits impact a company by:
- Lowering trust and confidence levels in the company and its offering,
- Featuring in adverse media,
- Reducing the attractiveness of the company in the eyes of top talent and
- Incurring hefty, unplanned legal fees.
In case of regulated business, authorities may even restrict companies from carrying certain operations until legal investigations are concluded.
Directly or indirectly, all cyber criminal acts, negatively impact an organisation’s finances in different shapes and forms. Loss of business, legal fees, fines, efforts in containing an attack or breach, payouts as compensation to clients and possible reduction in share price (even more if the company is publicly listed) – are the main considerations.
Data breaches often have long-lasting effects on businesses, in the form of client(s) abandonment and lower sales going forward. A clear example is the Equifax 2017 data breach, whereby more than 140 million people were impacted and in total cost $380 million in compensation funds. It is not unheard of for organisations to go out of business a few months after suffering a major data breach.
The consequences we touched upon in this article are all interlinked, and all have devastating after-effects. Protecting your company against malicious attacks and taking proper preventive measures is the best way to safeguard business continuity. Your cyber security strategy should cover your company’s client-facing website or web portal, all internal applications and systems, email and instant messaging systems, laptops/workstations/servers (on premise or cloud based) and infrastructure. Through extensive pen testing, vulnerabilities present in any of the previously-mentioned resources and systems are identified and their respective remedial actions are presented to protect your going concern.