The list of recent data breaches reads like a who’s who of major U.S. and multinational corporations: Facebook, Mimecast, U.S. Cellular, Kroger, T-Mobile. The list goes on.
Your company might not be as large or well-known as these unfortunate victims, but that doesn’t make it any less vulnerable to data theft and loss. Small companies often lack the resources to implement enterprise-grade security and patch vulnerabilities as soon as they’re discovered. Because of this, they may be more vulnerable to data breaches. To secure your online website data, the best you can do is to get get unmanaged vps hosting.
And that’s to say nothing of the vulnerability of smaller companies’ brands to data breaches. A single breach that takes minutes to execute can undo years of painstaking work to build goodwill with prospective customers.
Small and midsize businesses do have cost-effective solutions in their data security toolkits, whether they know it or not. Secure small business intelligence platforms like Plume Workpass and enterprise-grade IP protection solutions like ExpressVPN really do work.
Why use them? Because your company’s image is too important to risk. On the off chance that you need more convincing, consider nine reasons to protect your data — and your brand.
Smaller Companies are Often Implicated in Major Data Breaches
At the time, the 2013 Target hack was unprecedented in scale and scope. It was also a wake-up call for big companies that thought they were doing enough to protect their data.
They weren’t. Hackers breached Target by indirect means, through a small, regional vendor that had access to its systems. This vendor’s lax security practices resulted in the theft of tens of millions of customer records and severely damaged Target’s brand. The company and its competitors raced to improve their vendor security standards, but it was too late.
Data Theft Can Have Direct Fiscal Consequences
Not all hacks result in direct financial consequences. But many do. Ransomware attacks are increasingly common, for example. And not just against large companies with the means to pay a big Bitcoin ransom. Ransomware attackers target smaller companies too, partly because they know they’re easy targets.
Having to pay a ransom to recover your data doesn’t only add insult to injury. It also diverts resources from your efforts to rebuild from the attack. Most importantly, it makes it more difficult to shore up your damaged brand.
Customer Trust Craters After a Data Breach
Customers do not take kindly to adverse data security events. According to a survey from Varonis, a data security platform, majorities of consumers say they refuse to do business with companies that suffer breaches.
Just 17% of survey respondents said they would do business with a bank after a data breach. Only 20% of respondents said the same for a hotel.
In other words, be prepared to lose a big share of your existing customers after a data breach. Those that remain might be quicker to leave you in the future, as well.
Trust is Difficult to Win Back Once Lost
The more serious problem for companies hoping to recover from a data security event is the likelihood of long-term trust erosion. Trust is difficult and sometimes all but impossible to win back once lost. This is all the more true in competitive industries, where customers can readily take their business elsewhere.
Customers Have More Alternatives to Smaller Enterprises
It is more difficult for the average customer to quit a Home Depot or Adobe than a smaller vendor with many competitors. The Home Depot is often the only home improvement store for miles around. Adobe has a considerable competitive moat around many of its products.
By contrast, smaller companies challenging incumbents or operating in highly fragmented marketplaces are far more replaceable. When trust is lost, it’s simple enough for customers to say, “Next.”
Repairing a Damaged Brand Takes Time and Money
Let’s allow that it is possible, if difficult, to repair a damaged brand. Even in the best-case scenario, doing so takes time, money, and manpower. These resources are better spent building out a new product or optimizing the customer experience than repairing the damage from a data breach.
Of course, data breach victims don’t have a choice. This is why it’s so important to be proactive. You want to reduce the chances of a breach so that you don’t have to invest in the cleanup. If you have been affected by the ticketmaster data breach, Keller Lenkner can help you make a no-win, no-fee data breach compensation claim.
Public Data Breach Databases Leave a Durable Record of Your Incident
Major data security events aren’t easily forgotten. Years later, we still remember the massive Target and Home Depot hacks, even as the affected companies have moved on.
Why are our memories so long? Public data breach databases are partly responsible. Consumers and businesses can easily check these databases to determine if they’ve been affected by a particular hack. They can even check for records of hacks they didn’t know had occurred. It’s difficult to completely repair your reputation when these records remain.
Ironclad Security Is a Powerful Selling Point
At this point, companies that haven’t been affected by data breaches in some way are the exception. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a powerful differentiator in the marketplace. Why not work hard to keep it?
Legal Action Resulting From Data Breaches Can Further Damage Your Brand
Companies affected by data security incidents are exposed to legal action. Such action is costly in two ways.
First, it demands a legal defense that may prove to be very expensive and drawn-out. This results in direct financial consequences when you can least afford it.
Second, it results in additional negative press just as you’d hoped to begin rebuilding your reputation. This can scare off customers willing to give you another chance and delay or halt your recovery.
Legal action is also unpredictable. The best course of action for risk-averse companies is to avoid it altogether. This, of course, means doing everything in your power to avoid a data breach.
Your Data Is Your Brand. Protect It.
It doesn’t matter how strong your brand is. All it takes to damage it is a single ill-timed data breach.
We’ve seen the story repeat over and over and over again. Target. Home Depot. Capital One. Experian. Facebook. All blue-chip brands, all laid low by poor data security practices.
If billion-dollar companies are so vulnerable to reputational damage after cybersecurity incidents, how will your smaller business fare?
You don’t want to find out. It’s time to stop treating your company’s data — and your customers’ — as a commodity. It’s much more than that. With so much on the line, the safest move is to treat your data as an extension of your brand.
That should clarify things. After all, you’d move mountains to protect your brand. Why should you do any less to protect your data?