Impact of a Data Breach on Small or Medium Business

You’ve watched the rise in data breaches over the past several years. You know that your small or medium business is now no safer than the big corporations–and that, in fact, many hackers are choosing to deliberately target businesses like yours to find less stringent security measures. It’s important, however, that you understand the full impact of a data breach on your small or medium business.

By the Records

How many unique records are within your company’s data? While this will vary greatly based on the size of your business, there’s one thing you can probably count on: it’s a lot. 6000-7000 is the norm for small businesses in a variety of industries–and if you work in healthcare, insurance, or hospitality, it’s all too likely that you have even more than that. Each one could cost you an average of at least $158 in a data breach. Keep in mind that the type of records compromised have a serious impact on how much you end up paying for the breach: credit card records, for example, may require you to offer credit monitoring for those affected by the breach, while losing private healthcare information or social security numbers may cost you a bit more. Losing a list of email addresses, however probably won’t hit your budget as hard.

Federal Laws and Fines

You can’t close every hole that a hacker can slip through. When you deal with personal identifying information for your customers, however, you’re expected to support minimum compliance standards to keep your customers’ information secure. If you’re failing to meet those standards and your company experiences a breach, you’re going to pay for it: many large organizations have paid millions of dollars to close FCC investigations following a data breach.

Lost Business

The fines and fees you’ll pay as a result of the lost information are bad enough. Unfortunately, those numbers only increase when you consider the business you’ll lose as a result of the data breach–and that’s information that’s difficult to predict. Most of today’s consumers are well aware of the need to keep their personal information as private as possible. When they do business with your company, they’re choosing to trust you with it–and a data breach shows that you’re not trustworthy. Following a large breach, customers may choose not to turn to your company with their new business, and former customers may opt not to return. Calculating the cost to your business in terms of lost customers is nearly impossible, particularly if you aren’t able to see how far information about the breach has spread.

Third-Party Breaches: Your Most Costly Loss

Third-party breaches may be the most costly type of breach for your organization. Every third-party vendor your company partners with has access to private records within your company–and unfortunately, you don’t have any control over their security. It’s a critical cost of doing business. You’re simply not able to handle daily business tasks in isolation, without working with those vendors. Keeping strong security policies in place to protect private data in spite of that third-party access, however, is a critical part of your organization’s security.

The cost of a data breach can quickly skyrocket for your small or medium business. While you can’t close every hole, you can substantially decrease the odds that hackers will be able to target your company and gain access to your data. Contact us today to learn more about how we can raise your cybersecurity to the next level, protecting the confidential data in your systems and keeping your small or medium business safe from the potential costs associated with a data breach.

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