The True and Unexpected Costs of Being Cracked
With the rise of breaches being reported, businesses are starting to think about costs they might incur should they be breached. There are the normal costs that everyone associates with a breach, like getting your own server and computers fixed up, with maybe a little downtime. Many businesses view the possibility of getting cracked as more of an inconvenience than a bottom-line cost. For those who’ve come out the other side though, it’s a very different story. They know the hidden and ongoing costs of a data breach can be crippling, and that IT security exists to protect your business on multiple levels. All those surprise costs that spiral out of control are why most businesses close after a successful attack. Here are a few of the hard, but common realities of life after a crack. What is even worse is that most breaches that we hear about could have been easily prevented with proper maintenance.
Raiding the budget to reduce downtime
From the moment a successful attack gets into your system, things get expensive; and the longer the attack goes, the more it costs. Latest stats reveal most breaches aren’t identified for around 191 days, then it can take on average another 66 days to contain the damage. During this time you’re cleaning PCs, mobile devices, laptops, servers and even entire networks. Add to this the fee for experts to fix everything up, all the new tools and software they insist you have, and all the hours/days/weeks when your business is struggling with downtime, you’ll exhaust your emergency funds very quickly.
Fines and legal fees
Depending on what data was stolen and how you handled the situation, you could be liable for fines into the millions. Having any medical data or legal files leak is a particularly messy scenario with fines coming from multiple sources. In any case, new privacy laws mean businesses are liable for massive fines if they don’t disclose a data breach, even if only email addresses were stolen. Where this gets even trickier is that the burden is on your business to know exactly what data has been stolen/illegally accessed, so you can report it before the fines stack up. This means that even if you were able to fix up the systems yourself, you still need to hire an expert who can identify exactly what the crackers took, from where and when.
Customer retention measures
In a double-down crush to your bottom line, not only does your business have to bear the cost of the crack, your future income takes a hit as customers lose trust and leave. To offset this, many businesses need to engage PR experts, spend more on advertising, and go all out to ensure they survive to fight another day. Even so, your breach disclosure will still come up in search results for many years. The more negative publicity your breach attracts, the more you’ll need to spend on customer retention.
All of your secrets exposed
While you may not have Pentagon level secrets to protect, your business does have information that you’d like to keep to yourself. Crackers love going after those juicy tidbits, and the more closely you guard them, the more attractive they are. Think Coca Cola recipe, Big Mac Secret Sauce or 11 Herbs & Spices… while those corporations would be big enough to keep their competitive edge after the breach, your business success relies on at least some information staying secret. It may not be a secret recipe, but your proprietary methods and databases have a black-market value all of their own.
Hardening against a breach doesn’t cost much at all
Unfortunately there is no magic solution that will keep crackers at bay; but compared to a breach, hardening your systems so that they do not become the low-hanging fruit that attracts crackers is not very expensive. For a low monthly or yearly fee, we can reverse the entire scenario and harden your systems against attacks. That means no need to raid other department budgets in a panic, pay crippling fines, make embarrassing public announcements, or fight to retain your competitive edge.
We can help with making sure your systems have the latest security patches and your anti-virus knows the latest tricks to watch for. Our technicians can build a virtual fortress around your business that helps to keep the bad guys out while letting you thrive, and even monitor security with early warning systems. Whatever your needs are, both now and moving ahead, we’re here to help keep you safe while keeping your IT costs low.