Most significant data security risks for SMEs
Due to hybrid workforces we operate in a different reality: where small and medium organisations are the primary targets of cybercrime. Despite that, many of these businesses still don’t take cyber security as seriously as they should. We rarely find businesses without insurance and a secure lock in their doors, but we constantly see companies without a proper cybersecurity strategy.
Cybercrime poses risks to every business that relies on technology. They can affect your operations, staff, or even your suppliers and partners. Nevertheless, the most common target criminals seek today is your data. This is the reason why data security for SMEs is such a big deal, even if you don’t believe this data has much use for anyone else. Here are three ways a criminal can harm your business by stealing your data:
Business Damage – Operations and Downtime
Most cyberattacks today do not cause direct financial damage! This means that the majority of attacks will not directly steal money from your account but will still disrupt your business in significant ways. The first loss you’ll probably incur is the downtime trying to recover your data and systems – which, should you not have a reliable business continuity plan, could take very long!
If the data stolen possesses high value in your industry, you should expect criminals seeking to sell it to your competitors. When your data becomes available in such a place, you immediately become a target.
Identity Theft is one of the most prolific cybercrimes of the decade. In short, Identity Theft consists of stealing and using a person’s identity for nefarious purposes. The thief will use the information obtained about someone to pretend to be that person. They usually do it to trick co-workers or financial institutions and get money on the victim’s behalf.
This crime can cause tremendous headaches for everyone involved. If your data is stolen, criminals might be able to steal the identity of your employees, customers, partners and stakeholders! Worse, they’ll likely use this data against yourself and the ones around you.
The following implications should become more evident, despite being indirect consequences of a cyberattack, such as reputational damage.
Today, businesses that suffer a data breach in Africa and several countries worldwide are required to report that breach. This causes several implications, but it acts mainly as a security procedure that’ll allow people and organisations to protect their accounts before cybercriminals can exploit them. Therefore, a company that is breached due to a cyberattack must admit that it was breached and provide as much detail as possible about when and how the breach occurred.
This shines a light on the fact that the company could not protect their data and raises questions about the organisation’s competency. Depending on the industry, such mistake could be lethal. Customers are less likely to forgive such flaws in the business of finance and if the breaches are recurrent, every new report brings the organisation’s reputation further down.