A cyberattack on a business can be like a wildfire burning out of control. Just like a wildfire can destroy everything in it’s path, a cyberattack can destroy a business’s data, systems, and reputation. The flames of a wildfire can spread quickly and be difficult to contain. Cyberattacks can also spread quickly and be difficult to stop. And just like the aftermath of a wildfire that can leave a devastated landscape in its wake, the aftermath of a cyberattack can leave a business struggling to recover. To avoid the devastating effects of a cyberattack, businesses must take steps to protect themselves and prevent these threats from spreading.
One of the biggest risks of a cyberattack is the loss of sensitive data. Hackers can steal customer information, financial records, and intellectual property. This can be damaging to your business and even lead to legal repercussions, such as lawsuits and payouts for damages.
Another risk of a cyberattack is the downtime and loss of productivity that comes from fixing unprotected systems. If your business’s systems are compromised, you may not be able to access important data or conduct business as usual, which can result in lost revenue and frustrated customers.
The Long-Term Impact of Cyberattacks on Client Trust
There’s nothing worse than returning to the location of a wildfire and finding a home completely lost. This is a major concern in relation to cyberattacks. The long-term damage may be irreparable. Some of this damage includes:
- Customer Distrust: How do you feel when you hear of yet another hack on a company that holds your personal information? Have you ever had to setup credit monitoring or delete your account from a service because you lost confidence in them? This is the immediate damage that comes from a cyberattack. And it’s especially damaging for smaller companies with clients that are familiar with each other. Bad news travels like wildfire. Customer’s can evacuate en masse.
- Long-term Client Relations: Even if you manage to effectively counter the attack or negate some of it’s effects, customers may be reluctant to expand their business with you. New services or products might be put on hold while shaky confidence takes on a “let’s wait and see” attitude.
- Impact on Reputation: Let’s face it, you’re not the only service or product provider in town. Any negative news regarding your company can affect your competitive edge. Simply put, if you’re perceived as being prone to wildfires, people will go to another forest.
- Legal Consequences: Again, while your company may be a victim of the cyberattack, your customers may pursue legal action to recoup damages if you’re viewed liable. Like a homeowner that refuses to practice good fire prevention on their property, if the neighbor’s house burns down, he may have to answer for it.
- Loss of Loyalty: Ultimately, even your most loyal customers may feel betrayed and make a conscious decision to avoid your company in the future. While you may think “my best clients will understand,” it’s all theory until they feel like their home has burned to the ground.
Cyberattacks and Disrupted Productivity
Even if you’re able to tame a fire and protect your customer data, the internal damage caused by the attack can hurt your bottom line. If hackers gain access to a poorly protected system, they can cause all kind of havoc that can include:
- System Downtime: Imagine not having power or water for week following a fire. Even if your home was largely spared, the lack of utilities can bring your life to a halt. The same is true of attacks that can lead to major software and hardware repairs. How would your business run without computers for two weeks? How well would it run without payment processers or phones? .
- Cost of Recovery: System repairs, data recovery, and potential ransom costs. All or one of these can cost you potentially tens of thousands of dollars.
- Employee Productivity: Like a house with no power, if work is forced to a halt or slowed down significantly, you are facing potentially expensive losses by having to pay employees who are unable to do their job.
- Customer Service Interruptions: Lacking access to your computers for even a week can result in a poor customer experience for new customers and lead to lost business opportunities. For returning customers whose personal data was lost, this is just adding insult to injury.
- Disrupted Communication: Emails, live chats, customer account history can be disrupted. Being unable to access past orders, customer preferences, or requests, can all lead to problems with your employees and the customer.
- Inventory and Supply Chain Disruption: If your business is dependent on real-time inventory management or you operate in a timed supply chain, a system breakdown can lead to serious operational hitches.
To avoid these risks, it’s important for businesses to take steps to protect themselves from cyber attacks. This includes implementing strong security measures, such as firewalls and encryption, training employees on cyber security best practices, and regularly updating your systems and software.
By taking these steps, you can avoid the risks of a cyber attack and keep your business safe. Just like investing in security systems protects your physical assets, investing in cyber security protects your digital assets and keeps your business safe from harm.
If you need help giving your systems the best possible protections to limit and avoid cyberattacks, please call your friendly neighborhood cybersecurity provider – Acuity Total Solutions