Effects of Cyber Attacks on Business
Businesses around the world feel the effects of cyber-attacks. In 2019, the global economy lost more than $950 billion as a result of cybercrime. However, cyber-attacks go far beyond financial loss.
Cyber-attacks can impact businesses’ finances, reputation, operations, valuation, and staff.
As cybercrime becomes more lucrative, cyber-attacks are more likely to occur. It’s important to understand the short-term and long-term effects cyber-attacks could have on your business.
If you want to see how your business would hold up during a cyber security attack, then try out our free NIST security assessment to evaluate your cyber security posture.
Cyber Attack Short-Term Effect
Some cyber-attacks have the power to disrupt your business immediately.
For example, denial of service attacks (DoS attacks), is when a network is flooded with spam accounts and unable to process legitimate customers and requests.
DoS attacks can temporarily or indefinitely disrupt services of any business connected to the Internet.
It can stop customers from reaching your online checkout, browsing/purchasing your merchandise, or from accessing your site altogether.
Not only can this block current clients from your online resources, but it can also prevent new traffic and divert potential clients.
Another common cyber-attack with immediate consequences is ransomware. Ransomware is a form of malicious malware that gets into your system and encrypts your data.
As a result, businesses lose access to crucial customer, employee, and tactical data unless they pay a sum of money via bitcoin to cyber criminals.
Often, cyber criminals extort large sums of money from businesses by threatening to make the data breach public.
Bitcoin has been said to fuel ransomware attacks because it offers an anonymous and untraceable way for hackers to demand payment. Read more about bitcoin and ransomware here.
Ransomware and DoS attacks, along with many other forms of cyber-attacks, can cause immediate financial and operational destruction to your business.
Cyber Attack Long-Term Effect
The long-term effects of cyber-attacks aren’t as obvious as the short-term effects.
After a cyber-attack, if customer data and personal information are leaked to hackers, then reputational damage often occurs.
Many customers, especially if the data breach is severe, choose to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, it can slow down new business by scaring off potential customers.
If corporations have a history of compromising personal and financial data, then consumers are far less likely to do business with them. Especially if competitors haven’t endured similar breaches in the past.
Other long-term effects that impact businesses are lawsuits and fines. Civil lawsuits are common when cyber-attacks leak large amounts of personal information. Often, these lawsuits take years to settle and are expensive.
Plus, if the impacted business deals with health care information and falls under HIPAA compliance or BAA compliance, then they can receive hefty fines for breaking compliance.
Under HIPAA, the government requires businesses who have had a data breach to notify their clients. Usually, companies hire outside help to notify clients and handle PR. The damage control and aftermath of cyber-attacks are usually long-lasting and expensive.
How to Avoid Cyber Attacks
Cyber-attacks impact businesses both short-term and long-term. However, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of an attack and mitigate the damage if one was to occur.
Specifically, the following are actions you can take to avoid cyber-attacks:
- Secure your network
- Train your employees with online cyber awareness training
- Enable multifactor authentication
- Use a firewall and ISP
- Enforce safe password policies
Securing your network should be your top priority. Businesses operating without secure networks are sitting ducks. Follow these 5 steps to secure your network.
In the unfortunate case that a cyber-attack does occur, you want to be prepared. There are proactive measures you can take to mitigate the damage:
- Back up your data
- Create and test emergency protocols with IT staff
- Partner with an MSP for damage control
Cyber-attacks will become more frequent in the future. You should know the short-term and long-term impact of cyber-attacks.
Businesses should take a proactive stance on cyber security to avoid the negative impacts of a cyber-attack.
Strengthen Your Cyber Security Against Cyber Attacks
One of the most essential actions you can take to avoid a cyber-attack on your business is to evaluate your current cyber security posture.
Assess your controls, policies, and procedures, in order to identify and resolve any weaknesses.
A cyber security assessment is the easiest way to start. A cyber security assessment evaluates your current security posture so you can respond to risks before a cyber-attack can occur.
If you are interested in understanding more about your cyber security posture and avoiding the effects of a cyber-attack, then try our free cyber security assessment tool to see how you would fare if a cyber security attack were to occur.