Data breach incidents continue to dominate cybersecurity headlines around the globe. Despite immense emphasis on cybersecurity, data security vulnerabilities are increasing. Data breaches are happening rampantly; and businesses are too slow to react. One explanation is that cybercriminals are changing their ways to circumvent defenses to obtain unauthorized access to confidential business information.
According to CNBC, 93% of successful data breach incidents happen in less than a minute; among which 80% victims take as long as a week to detect the breach. Another research suggests data breach incidents are increasing 33.3% on an average annually. This is indeed worrisome!
The consequences of data breaches are very serious; and too many that harm business continuity in many ways. These consequences are something beyond just data loss and financial loss.
Beyond Financial Loss
Significant revenue loss is the most evident consequence of any data breach incident. This is undoubtedly the most immediate and hard-hitting repercussion that organizations are forced to deal with. In this blog we will discuss some apparently long-term consequences that organizations face after a cyber incident.
- Legal Battles, Non-Compliance and Penalties: An organization that deals with sensitive business or personal information is legally required to secure it round the clock. Based on geographic location and industry, every organization has to comply with regional data security mandates or Central Bank guidelines. If there is any non-compliance with IT regulations, organizations that suffer a data breach might have to pay hefty penalties. Even if the organizations notify the clients about the incident on time, they face legal battles from different stakeholders. It becomes difficult to pacify them even if they promise a cyber forensics investigation of the incident.
- Damage of Brand Reputation: News of data breach incidents travel faster than wind, and the victim can become a global news story within a matter of hours after the news is disclosed. The stakeholders immediately verify the news, and they start spreading the news from their end as well. In no time, the organization takes a hit on its brand reputation, while declining consumer trust is another cause of concern. On several occasions, the victim loses its share value in the stock market significantly. It causes irreparable and long-term damage to the organization.
- Loss of Clients and Prospects: Existing clients of any data breach victim fear adverse effect on their business continuity. The unreliability factor starts knocking at the back of the mind while decisions to discontinue partnership linger large. They fear that their data is not in the right hands. New prospects also prefer to take the same path, and many bright business possibilities are killed before germination.
- Non-Acceptance, Resistance and Confusion among IT Staff: Post a data breach incident, an organization tends to make several IT overhauls. The data breach victim changes its IT security policy, brings changes in the hierarchy of the IT department, and roles and responsibilities of the IT end-users are also changed. Moreover, there are implementations of new processes and technologies to strengthen the data security and data integrity in the IT infrastructure. Typically, in such situations involving IT overhaul, there is human resistance to accept and understand new technologies and also to take up new responsibilities. It disrupts the overall IT process.
- Higher cost to run a business (Insurance premiums): Cyber Insurance premiums increase in case of data breach incidents. This premium is inversely proportional to cybersecurity preparedness of the organizations. These organizations majorly opt for cyber insurance as it covers cyber risks with a highly competitive monetary margin. However, it is to be noted that if there are any loopholes in the IT infrastructure or any history of data breach incident, the cyber insurance premiums get higher.
Not all losses involve finances. All the consequences mentioned above are ‘heavily-priced’ as well. So what to do to avoid such obnoxious situations? The answer is adequate IT security policies and relevant cybersecurity mechanisms with regular audit trails. It not just ensures prevention of cyber threats but also maintains business continuity. The organizations can also avoid the knotty aftermath of a data breach.