The spike in cybercrime during the pandemic will have made every Gloucestershire business owner shudder.
A security breach can devastate even the most resilient company, with experts using phrases like ‘extinction event’ to describe the very worst outcomes.
With a general consensus that all businesses and organisations will fall victim to a cyber attack sooner or later, the obligation to act has never been greater.
SoGlos takes a look at five devastating things that can happen to your business if you don’t prepare for a cyber attack and offers three simple solutions for protecting your business.
The economic and financial cost of cyber attack
Financial loss – it is the first thing most businesses face when they are a victim of a cyber attack. And it is often considerable.
Think theft of money, disruption to trading, theft of corporate and financial information (bank details and payment card details) and a loss of business contracts as a result.
And then there is the cost of repairing affected systems, devices and networks.
The trust businesses work so hard to build is worth its weight in gold and essential to good customer relationships.
A cyber attack can take it away in a flash. The result – a loss of sales, customers and profits. The impact can also damage relationships with suppliers, partners, investors and others who rely on your business.
Data protection laws make it your responsibility to manage the security of the personal data you hold.
While a cyber attack is now an inevitability, the steps you have taken to keep your systems secure, the procedures you have in place for before, during and after an attack, and how you learn from it will help protect you financially and reputationally – but legally too.
Loss of productivity
Your business may simply not be able to operate – from taking payment to producing goods. Productivity will be affected and in a worst case, lost altogether.
Before you can turn everything back on again, you will need your IT cleaned, checked, the root cause identified, vulnerability fixed, security reinforced and a list of lessons to learn.
It’s one heck of a list, but it will give you, your staff, your customers, your investors, the ICO, confidence in your business.
In a worst-case scenario, the impact of a cyber attack is so severe it threatens business continuity.
If your business depends almost entirely on being able to operate online, then just one cyber attack could be enough to put you out of business.
The advice is simple – make cyber security part of your business continuity strategy.
So… what can you do?
A breach of your digital security can devastate even the most resilient business. From now on in it is about managing risk – and much of that also means what you do in response.
All incidents must be reported within 72 hours to the Information Commissioner’s Office. And while it can fine you, the ICO will be happy to know you are taking all possible precautions, sharing the information to protect others and being responsible.
Being responsible also means cleaning up the affected systems in your business and being able to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Get expert advice
Gloucestershire is blessed with incredible talent in the area of cyber security risk management. Look for a firm that understands what your business needs are, that can grow with you.
And remember, it is not just the cyber side of your business you need to consider. Do not ignore the human element – so often the weakest link. Invest in training, education, build a culture of awareness that is ongoing.
Undertake a cyber essentials assessment
And finally, all businesses should take advantage of a cyber essentials or cyber essentials plus assessment – with any organisation that handles data needing to at least be cyber essentials certified.
A National Cyber Security Centre initiative, the former is a quick assessment businesses can undertake to check they’ve got the right processes in place to mitigate against 80 per cent of cyber attacks, with the plus version a more indepth version of this.