How much does a data breach really cost? When we look at it, cyberattacks generally are summed up in dollars and cents.
It’s easy to throw out numbers, facts, and figures that encapsulate the overall threat landscape and what it means to enterprise security. However, the intangible costs of a data breach, which could be even more costly in the long run, also need to be considered.
A recent Gartner report revealed that 88% of companies now consider cybersecurity a direct threat to business operations.
Beyond the financial ramifications of a breach, it could compromise your reputation and the trust of your customers. In fact, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.
In addition to the financial losses, enterprises would have to contend with the cost of the following:
- Losing customers
- Lost productivity
- Negative publicity
- Additional payroll hours
- New security technology
- Forensics team
- Regulatory issues and penalties
- Fines and settlements
- Legal costs
The losses add up as an enterprise struggles to repair the damage and get it back on its feet.
But how do these attacks happen in the first place?
Enterprises typically have security measures in place, but more is needed. An IBM study showed that a jaw-dropping 79% of critical infrastructure organizations didn’t deploy a Zero Trust architecture. As a result, these organizations experienced an average of $5.40 million in breach costs.
In addition, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report showed that the human element is a pivotal contributor to data breaches, with misconfigured cloud storage, the use of stolen credentials, phishing, and human error being the primary culprits.
Furthermore, 19% of breaches were due to a compromised third-party business partner.
How to prevent such losses
- Implement a Zero Trust architecture (ZTNA): ZTNA’s “security without borders” approach continuously verifies all devices and users, including third-party vendors, before granting them access to the network.
- Implement a comprehensive cyber-resilience plan: Creating and maintaining a clear, concise, and manageable incident response plan is critical for reducing the damage and cost of a data breach. This plan should include the who, what, when, where, why, and how to act during a data breach or attack.
- Educate staff: From the C-suite down, train staff on cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing emails, using strong passwords, and avoiding risky online behavior.
- Automate: From patches and updates to monitoring and reporting, the more you can automate systems and procedures, the less likely you are to fall victim to human error.
- Verify third-party vendors: Ensure all third-party partners with access to your network follow their own cybersecurity best practices and procedures.
With cyber-attacks becoming a regular part of business, getting hacked can be forgivable. However, that doesn’t avoid the exorbitant costs associated with an attack. The time, energy, and various losses involved could mean the end of your business. But, with the right policies, procedures, technology, and recovery plans in place, you are in a better position to protect your company, its digital resources, and its reputation.
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