Many businesses will be aware of the financial cost of a cybersecurity breach – according to the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) the combined cost of cyberattacks throughout the UK is as high as £34 billion.
Attacks are also becoming more frequent, with organisations reporting a significant increase in breaches over the last 12 months.
Over 30% of organisations said that they experience an attack as frequently as once a week, providing a worrying illustration of just how many organisations are not appropriately safeguarded against cyber-attack.
Unfortunately, financial loss is not the only cost associated with a cybersecurity breach. The impacts can be wide ranging and potentially devastating, disrupting processes, reducing productivity and causing often irreparable reputational and brand damage.
In recent months the NHS, Mariott Hotels and the University of Limerick have all fallen victim to cybersecurity breaches, illustrating the potential impact for organisations operating across a variety of sectors.
The reputational cost of a major cyberattack can also be significant. If customers believe they cannot trust an organisation to protect their data, they may take their business elsewhere. This can result in significant financial and reputational damage that businesses may struggle to rectify.
The threat of legal fines adds another layer of concern for businesses. Data protection and privacy laws require the appropriate security management of all personal data held by a business – whether that data relates to employees or customers.
If this information is compromised (accidentally or deliberately!), and the business is found to have failed to deploy appropriate security measures, it may face fines and regulatory sanctions.
It is clear that the real cost of cyberattack is potentially very significant.
However, by taking all necessary action to identify weaknesses and implement robust cybersecurity measures businesses of any size, across all sectors can avoid the disastrous implications of a cyber breach.