We all remember the Target breach, Capital One breach, and other major cybersecurity breaches of the last 20 years. Some of the biggest cyberattacks in the history of the internet have occurred within the last two decades, and the impact on those companies’ reputations has been huge. Target has since paid out over $300 million in damages, and many of its customers went to online retailers instead of shopping in Target stores. When a company experiences a data breach, customers want to know why it happened, how it affects them, and what’s being done.
The problem with some companies is that they’re not honest about what occurred in their breach. The unfortunate truth is that you can’t usually trust a company to be honest about its data breaches, and this causes more than a bit of concern among consumers. How are we supposed to know if our data was compromised? How can we tell if the right steps are being taken if things are being hidden from us?
The best thing to do is be honest when a breach occurs, but more importantly, to take steps against breaches to prevent them from occurring to begin with. There are thousands of cybersecurity tools available to businesses of all sizes, and some, like SentinelOne security software, offer complete protection, prevention, and forensic investigation for cyberthreats. The bottom line? Cybersecurity should be at the top of every company’s priority list. Here’s what happens to its reputation when it’s not.
Some Important Data Breach Statistics To Consider
First and foremost, let’s dive deeper into data breaches and the damage they cause. A data breach isn’t as simple as it sounds, nor is it some minute problem that should be brushed off. According to a report by Risk Based Security, data breaches exposed around 36 billion records in 2020. That’s roughly five times the total population of humans on Earth! The problem is two-fold: the average person isn’t as concerned with cybersecurity as they should be, and hackers are always creating new and sophisticated ways to breach protective shields and gain access to sensitive data. Technology users are encouraged to check out penetration testing services and other cybersecurity precautions that they can take, to test for vulnerabilities within their systems, allowing them to solve these and minimise the risk of cyberattack.
With nearly 300 billion passwords in circulation throughout the world, it’s difficult to say what the true extent of data breaching is, but what we do know is that it costs billions every year. The average cost of a data breach for a small business falls in at around $200,000. That’s right-nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Does your business have that much to lose?
The True Cost Of A Data Breach
The Target breach of 2013 cost the company nearly $300 million in damages. The company lost about $71 million in revenue from customers turning away, 80+ class-action lawsuits, several civil suits, and a blow to the company’s reputation that may never fully heal. The true cost of data breaches doesn’t lie with monetary value, but with the reputation that makes a company a trusted provider in the industry. Once a company is seen as an incompetent protector of customer data, there’s a good chance they’re losing significant revenue.
Target has somewhat recovered in the last decade, raking it a staggering $78 billion in profits in 2019, but the harm has already been done. Millions of customers were affected, and some of them never went back. If your personal data was compromised by a company you frequented, how would you feel? It’s safe to say there was a sense of betrayal among Target’s customers, and it’s easy to see why.
Cybersecurity Should Be Your #1 Priority
Any company working with sensitive customer data should place cybersecurity at the forefront of the priority list. Every year that passes sees businesses becoming more and more digitalized. With the recent trends in cryptocurrency, digital currency could soon become a viable asset and usable currency for business transactions, which means companies will need to get on board to stay alive. However, if the process isn’t secure, those companies who didn’t put their cybersecurity first can lose precious customers and revenue.
Cybersecurity tools are abundant and more affordable than ever. You can get a password manager for your business for less than the cost of a phone plan every month. Complete cybersecurity packages from companies like SentinelOne keep you secure for a price any growing business can afford. There’s simply no excuse to ignore or deprioritize cybersecurity in today’s world. Everything is moving into the digital space, and we have to work together to ensure it doesn’t become the wild west.
The Bottom Line
A data breach can seriously damage a company’s overall reputation, not to mention potentially cause bankruptcy. The cost of improving your cybersecurity isn’t nearly as bad as the cost of a data breach. Keep your customers and your business’s reputation safe by taking control of your cybersecurity and making it your company’s #1 priority.