The Consequences of an Enterprise Cyber Attack

Regaining customer trust after losing their financial data can be a costly and laborious undertaking. What’s more, the legal ramifications can cripple plans for expansion as fines and court costs could divert capital away from investments geared toward advancing your company’s position in the marketplace.

Ultimately, the consequences of an enterprise cyber attack can be injurious to your reputation, your finances, your legal standing and your competitiveness.


Financial Consequences

Theft of key information can severely inhibit your ability to generate income. What’s more, your assets could also be at risk if the breach grants the attacker access to your banking and investment information. Furthermore, you’ll find your ability to conduct transactions online hampered significantly if customer payment data is compromised. Additionally, your customers might well take their business elsewhere — canceling any contracts upon which your revenue stream may have relied.


Reputational Consequences

Trust is a must. The last thing you want is for the word to get around that your network security is lax. That’s a surefire way to get your customers excited about doing business with your competitors. The resulting loss of customers, as we noted above, can put a significant damper on sales, which in turn could decimate your profit potential. A company is only as good as a customer’s last interaction with it. Lax cybersecurity could make your last interaction one in which your customer is left vulnerable to cybercriminals — and you can bet they will tell everyone they meet.


Legal Consequences

Clients are within their rights to expect a good faith effort on your part to protect their personally identifiable data. Further, you have a legal responsibility to see to it that their financial data is safeguarded in every way possible. In fact, data protection and privacy laws require you manage the security of all personal data you hold —whether it’s that of your staff or your customers.Fines and regulatory sanctions are routinely imposed upon organizations when found to be negligent in this area. Your company can also be sued for damages if your system is breached and thieves make off with customer data they then use to cause some sort of injury to those customers.


Competiveness Consequences

What happens when your big plan for expansion is stolen and sold to one of your competitors? What if a DDoS attack is launched against your site and shuts it down? Before you scoff, keep in mind it’s happened to big players — like Target, PayPal and Twitter — as well as a number of other significant enterprises.

Bankruptcy can easily result from having your ability to conduct your operations compromised. In fact, some 60 percent of companies that experience cyberattacks go under within six months of the incident. Remember that thing above about all the lawsuits? They could trigger a death spiral from which your business may not recover.


What Can You Do?

Vulnerability management is key to safeguarding your company against the consequences of an enterprise cyber attack. This includes implementing strong encryption, backing up your data and deploying robust antivirus and antimalware applications. 

It’s also important to ensure your users observe and adhere to your security protocols — without cutting corners — each and every time they log into your system. Require the usage of strong passwords as well as multi-factor authentication. Training your users to spot phishing scams is also critical to protecting your system. Limiting access to those who absolutely need it is crucial as well. Yes, much of that information is common sense. However, successful cyber attacks have proven over and over again that common sense isn’t always common.

The good news is most people who engage in this type of criminal activity are looking for easy marks. With robust security protocols in place and functioning, you won’t appear to be low hanging fruit. They’ll likely try you and move on to look for a more vulnerable target when they can’t get in easily.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.