Risky Business: The True Consequences of Data Breaches for Small Businesses


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If you’ve been paying attention to current business events, you’ll notice that last year alone some of the biggest companies were victims of cybercrime. The likes of Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Tumblr to name a few were hit hard by cybercriminals looking to steal customer information. Though it may seem like nothing more than a little clean up required to get back on track, the truth is, when your company data becomes compromised, there is a lot at risk. Though major companies can bounce back easier, the same may not be said for smaller businesses.

For many small business owners, investing in a fool-proof security system may not be feasible. As security systems can be rather expensive and difficult to maintain, many small business owners put this on the back burner. However, what is learned is that investing in the best data protection, like antivirus software from McAfee, and recovery services, like mobile forensics by companies like Capitol Digital & Califorensics, is a lot more affordable than suffering a data breach and having to find the right solution amid the chaos.

Risks of suffering a security breach

If investing in preventative and resolution services for data breaches in your small business is something you’re still skeptical about, perhaps these common risks will persuade you otherwise.

Damage your reputation

At the very core of a data breach, a company can ruin their reputation. When you’re responsible for keeping customer and stakeholder information secure, and that security is compromised, you have lost their trust. Since a data breach could cause them a host of problems from identity theft to fake accounts, most won’t want to do business with you anymore. As you may or may not know, word of mouth is one of the quickest ways to ruin a brand. One negative comment, blog post, review, or conversation about your small business could cause it to be ruined before it ever had a chance to start.

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Since small businesses tend to have fewer defenses that are less complicated, hackers can easily penetrate the system and steal whatever they’d like. A hacker could easily withdraw funds from company accounts and even steal pertinent customer information that can be sold on the dark web for some serious cash. Stolen login information and personal identifying information like social security numbers, bank accounts, and so on could really do damage to your customers’ finances and identity.

Financial loss

Outside of the money that can be stolen from your small business, there are other financial losses that small businesses will incur in the event of a data breach. According to First Data, small businesses have spent anywhere from $36,000 to $52,000 on data breaches. While something like this is easy for a large business to recover from, most small businesses don’t have the funds necessary and as a result, suffer significant financial loss trying to recover.

Potential fines

All businesses are expected to comply with data protection legislation. When data is breached, whether avoidable or not, your small business could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in fines. Not to mention, customers may be interested in filing lawsuits to try and recover some of their losses.

Data breaches happen all the time. Some are intentional and avoidable while others are unpreventable. If you want to safeguard your small business from the potential risks of a data breach, it is imperative to begin taking preventative measures to minimize the chances of it happening. Also, having a plan of action and resources to turn to should an unavoidable breach occur, can save you time and money. While you may think it won’t happen to you, or that your basic protections are enough, there’s plenty of proof out there that ignoring the problem or doing the bare minimum can be risky business.

Photo credit: DJ Andy WAtomic Taco
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Jenna Brown
Jenna Brown
Jenna is a freelance blogger who is mainly focused on business innovation and breaking stories in business. Jenna has been blogging since college where she studied marketing and has merged her love of keying stories into copywriting work as well as plenty of reading and writing for fun! Find and follow on her new Twitter here!
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