The Benefits of Cyber Security
by David Dwyer on 11/09/2015 2494 Reads
Protecting your data, reputation & money through Cyber Security
The Real Costs of Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks cost UK businesses £34 billion a year according to recent research from CEBR, an IT 'think-tank' and Veracode, a computer security group. Their research shows that £18 billion comes from lost revenue as a result of a successful attack, while £16 billion represents the companies increased spending to bolster their IT defences.
As the number of cyber attacks increases exponentially, so to do the costs of dealing with them. In many businesses, budgets are constantly being reassessed. In a commercial version of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul', in some instances that means that research and development budgets are cut at the expense of IT security. In short, the threat and the reality of cyber attacks restrict the innovative growth of many UK companies.
Whether your business is big or small, cyber security should be a concern and serious consideration for every business owner.
Benefit 1 - Protect your reputation
In many cases, due to the public nature of your website, a successful breach will be difficult to hide from your customers, potential customers, and partners. Sometimes hackers will bring your entire website down, while, in others, you may be forced to do so yourself to limit the damage and your exposure.
Recovering from the reputational damage caused by a cyber attack can be difficult. Putting in place a robust set of cyber defense solutions protects your reputation and your credibility. You only have to look to Facebook, who offer rewards to developers who identify bugs and security vulnerabilities within their platform - a case of Facebook turning potential poachers into gamekeepers.
Benefit 2 – Protect your data
If an attack results in personal data being stolen, such as usernames, passwords or payment details, the business in question will be forced to own up to the breach. That was the case when in March hackers targeted 2015 BA's Executive Club scheme in an aggressive cyber attack that appeared to originate from Russia. Some Executive Club members noticed that their mobile phone number and other personal data had been changed. While others found that their loyalty points had been used to book flights and hotel rooms for trips they'd never personally made.
Protecting your own data and more importantly, your clients’ data, by deploying strong, robust and regularly updated cyber security measures should be considered as a business priority. Protecting your data, while your competitors fail to do so, can elevate your status and act a point of differentiation.
Benefit 3 - Protect your bank balance
A single, successful cyber attack can have a dramatic impact on your businesses bank balance. Some of the financial hit will be felt immediately while others will take much longer to be felt, which makes the true costs of successful cyber attacks difficult to fully quantify.
What we do know is that there will be the initial cost to remedy the situation. You may be in a fortunate position and have an IT team at your disposal. If like most small businesses you don't have such a luxury, you will be forced to outsource, which can be very costly. There will be the cost of investigating the breach, creating a workable solution to make sure it doesn't happen again, testing that it works and then deploying it. Financially prudent business owners will take this as an opportunity to undertake a broader review of their entire website security. While this is what we'd recommend, it will push the short-term costs of the initial attack up.
If real money, or virtual currency in the form of loyalty points is stolen, you will have the responsibility to refund your affected clients. In some cases this will be a legal requirement, in others it is morally the right thing to do. Either way, it will cost you very real money to resolve.
The longer-term impact, in terms of lost revenue is probably difficult to calculate. How many potential customers will never become real customers because of the negative perception caused by the attack?
And that, for smaller businesses, is the biggest benefit of cyber security - it can protect your bank balance.
Why being Proactive Pays Off
The three benefits of protecting your reputation, your data, and your cash are only possible by taking a genuinely proactive approach to your Websites security. At Inspire, we’ve undertaken well over 1,000 hours of testing in the last 12 months to ensure our code and servers are secure. It’s a huge commitment, but one that we don’t compromise on, it’s simply a cost of doing business in the age that we live in. Many smaller businesses are put off by the perceived costs of putting in place appropriate security measures. In our experiences, it costs significantly more money to repair after an attack than it does to prepare for one.
Cyber Security at Inspire
Protecting your website means protecting your business. At Inspire, we believe your website has the potential to be a major asset for your business, and like any asset, it should be passionately protected.
For a free initial cyber security consultation, please contact Frazer on 01738 700 006 or get in touch through our web enquiry form.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Inspire Web Services, Penetration Testing