The after effects of a data breach can be devastating for a business. Whether a small business or a large company, not having had the proper protection against data breaches will inevitably have costly, and regrettable consequences.
The aftermath will affect most parties with some stake in the company, whether it is information, or money.
It is one of the most well known consequences of data breaches is the cost that they live a business with. Not only does this include the cost of the breach, but the legal costs, regulatory fines, loss of business, and more. It’s an attack that will weaken a business from all angles, regardless of its size.
The average data breach will cost a business around $4million, costing roughly $160 per stolen record (source), and the longer it takes a data breach to be recognised, the more it will cost. But these facts don’t take into account the other affected areas of the business that will also result in a costly consequence; such as damaged reputation.
Data protection laws will vary between locations and may be emphasised in certain places more than others. The recent changes in the GDPR rules within Europe has taken a big step in bringing the importance of data protection into the public eye. This ensures that the public are aware of their rights, giving even more of a costly consequence if the right precautions are not taken. Regulatory fines will always be a constant with all companies failing to secure or destroy their data correctly.
It can be argued that a data breach may permanently damage a company’s reputation. Any publicity, in this case, is not good publicity. Hitting the headlines with a data breach can affect any sized company and will leave behind the proof. As it is probable that the internet will permanently secure each article written or headline published.
The loss of trust amongst customers will make sure a big hit to a company’s reputation not only in the press but amongst its customers. A study done by Ponemon showed that 65% of participants who had experienced a data breach as part of a customer base, had lost trust in the company afterwards.
No doubt that a data breach will cause several distressing moments. A company will always have parties that will be affected in the case of a data breach, from the closest employee, to the most loyal customers, or even those who are no longer interested in the company, but still store details on their servers. Any amount of distress can be caused to any of the parties involved, as they own have their own risk.
Loss of personal information
The actual hit of a data breach is not the loss of money or reputation, but the loss of personal data that should have been protected. Depending on the type of information selected, it can become as serious as possibly identity theft.
In the case of a data breach, a company should be able to explain to its customers:
The name and contact details of its data protection officer or other contact point that can provide more information
A description of the likely consequences of the personal data breach
A description of the measures taken, or proposed to be taken, to deal with the personal data breach and including, where appropriate, the measures taken to mitigate any possible adverse effects. (source)
A data breach will allow a company to become better secure, but for the most part, companies are rarely aware that they are being cyber-attacked until it is too late. Unless the company are properly protected and securely erase all unwanted data, there will always be the risk of a data breach.
Needless to say, data security has definitely come into light with recent laws in the eyes of the public, and it has shed light on its importance to the public and why it is necessary to have the best precautions in place for it. The truth is, data breaches are bound to happen, with hackers attempting cyber crime every 49 seconds, but the best ways in which to prevent them is the destruction of unused data.