Technology continues to permeate nearly every aspect of both professional and personal life today. Unfortunately, the increase in technology’s capacity has correlated with an increase in sophisticated cyber attacks. We have seen these massive data breaches afflict once thought-to-be fail safe corporations. Sony and Target are but two world-renowned brands who fell victim to anonymous hackers and their malicious intent.
Businesses need to be vigilant, reactive, and innovative in how they protect their assets, future revenue, and current profitability. That’s why I took this opportunity to highlight what I think are the top two cyber risks businesses face today:
Lost phones, misplaced tablets, and unattended laptops all pose a potentially devastating threat to companies. Should any of these devices or something similar harbor sensitive computer data, and it’s lost, it could result in massive costs for the company in question.
For instance, say a manager at IDon’tProtectMyself Inc., an employee benefits company, lost her phone which had access to an unsecured database made up of 20,000+ clients and their personal information—personal information like social security numbers, healthcare history, and current bank account records. That single lost phone is going to cost IDon’tProtectMyself Inc. considerably:
Costs for legal services, a forensic investigation, and miscellaneous costs
Cost for data breach notification and reparation fees, future revenue from dropped clients
Legal action taken by clients who feel slighted
These costs could easily prove fatal for a company’s reputation, and potentially fatal to the company as a whole—all because of one lost phone.
Even if all devices are perpetually in the hands of their rightful owner, they are still vulnerable to cyber attacks. A single attack on a major retailer’s point of sale system could spell disaster. For example, say a hacker attacks your company’s point of sale system.
That immediately means you need to hire a forensic examiner in order to conduct a forensic audit of the entire point of sale system. It also means you likely hired a law firm for counsel and to coach you through the breach. For a single attack, you have to:
Pay to inform all of your customers that their personal information has been compromised.
Pay for ongoing credit monitoring for customers to ensure fraud is caught and punished accordingly
Pay to defend against inevitable legal action from compromised customers
The costs can quickly become astronomical if cyber insurance does not cover the attack. This is all without listing the largest cost yet—lost business. The publicity surrounding a cyber attack is terrible for business, and not only persuades many current customers to become past customers, but wards off potential customers who were considering your product or service.
Truly, cyber attacks pose an immense threat to entrepreneurs and corporations alike. Although all attacks are terrible, they don’t have to be terribly managed. With the appropriate insurance coverage, companies can minimize the repercussions they incur from an unexpected digital assault.