5 Ways a Data Breach Can Cost You

 In Cyber Security

You know how valuable the information your company holds is to you. Do you know how valuable it is to hackers? Depending on what they steal and where they sell it, hackers can make less than a penny per record or more than $200. A successful data breach can net hackers a small fortune—and cost you a large one. Here are five ways a data breach can cost you.

1. It will cost you to repair the damage

Data breaches cost companies millions of dollars. The breach at Target cost the company $148 million, only partially covered by cyberinsurance. Even at smaller firms, the cost of a breach can be $50,000 or more. The costs a company can incur after a breach include the cost of notifying customers and providing them with identity theft protection, implementing additional information security controls, and mandatory audits.

2. It can cost you business

You can lose customers who decide to take their business elsewhere, and you may simply not be able to take orders while you respond to the incident; point of sale systems may be shut down while forensic examiners search for evidence. Credit card vendors can terminate their relationship with you after a breach, eliminating a payment method many customers rely on.

3. It can cost you your reputation

Customers expect their sensitive financial and medical information to be protected; expose that information and you lose your customers’ trust. But you don’t need to be in a sensitive industry to have your reputation damaged by a data breach. When Sony was breached, the company was embarrassed by internal emails that included rude comments about Hollywood superstars, as well as gender and race-related pay discrepancies.

4. It can cost you your competitive advantage

Your company’s intellectual property is valuable and vulnerable. According to Verizon, one fifth of all data breaches are due to cyberespionage. Hackers often target industrial companies to steal designs and blueprints that let competitors duplicate your products and produce them at lower cost.

5. It can cost you control

Some breaches don’t result in theft of your data; a kind of malware called ransomware can lock up your data and hold it hostage. By encrypting your systems with a secret key that only the hackers know, companies lose access to their data unless they pay the hackers to release it. A hospital in Los Angeles paid a ransom in Bitcoins to regain access to its data.

Simply installing antivirus software on your systems isn’t enough to protect your data against determined hackers. Protecting your network requires a comprehensive approach that combines technology—firewalls, antivirus, data loss prevention, among other techniques—with training your security staff how to respond to incidents and training all your employees how to avoid phishing and other social engineering attacks. Prescient Solutions can help craft an information security strategy customized to your company, your data, and your risk. Contact us to request a complimentary data security assessment.

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