As the widely-reported Sony hack illustrated, a cyber attack can cripple a company from the inside. But not every target of a cyber attack is going to be a global conglomerate. Cyber attacks are increasing in numbers, and small businesses are always vulnerable, so it is important to have good cybersecurity measures in place because the costs to your business can be devastating. A cyber attack can have a significant effect on your bottom line, and experts are realizing that the hidden costs incurred in an attack are far more significant than the direct costs. Here are four of the hidden costs with the greatest impact on your business.

Loss of Intellectual Property

The first threat to small business cybersecurity is the loss of intellectual property and trade secrets. An attack can target your research and development, or other intellectual property that is vital to your current business, or to future growth. As more data and workflow moves online and onto cloud services, small business owners should ensure that their data is kept on a secure cloud server.

Operational Disruption

An attack can create destruction across your entire network and business, leading to large-scale disruption of your daily operations, and making it impossible for you to do business as usual. This can lead to significant costs, both monetary, and with your relationship with employees, vendors, and customers.

How companies handle notifications to their customers in the aftermath of a breach can define a business’s reputation in the months after the breach. 

Lost value of customer relationships

A cyber attack can take down your business from the inside, but one of the largest hidden costs will be how it affects your relationship with your clients. If a breach does happen, it’s standard procedure to notify all your customers promptly, with details about what data was lost or at risk. How companies handle notifications to their customers in the aftermath of a breach can define a business’s reputation in the months after the breach. What’s becoming standard for companies affected by a cyber breach is offering credit monitoring protection for customers who have lost sensitive identifying information. This can create significant costs overall but will go a long way towards re-establishing trust.

 

Have a plan in place for how you will respond.

Devaluation of Your Brand

There’s another cost to suffering a cyber breach: a devaluation of your brand’s name. Depending on the scale of the attack, it may be reported in the news. Even among customer word-of-mouth, a cyber breach could bring the wrong kind of attention to businesses big and small, making current and potential clients unwilling to do business.

So what can a business do to minimize these losses and safeguard their systems? They should take the time to evaluate their process and software, and take a look at the systems and procedures they have in place to protect their data. Finally, they should have a plan in place for how they will respond in the case of a cyber attack.

Start with protection first. Learn how Albuquerque Image Products can prevent cyber attacks on your business.