Tens of thousands of small businesses across the country suffer each year from cyberattacks. Hackers are usually after data, such as credit card information and clients’ identities. A person’s life can be turned upside down by having their identity stolen, so it stands to reason that a data breach could have disastrous consequences for a company.
If you own and operate a business, putting ample resources into your cybersecurity is both your moral responsibility to your clients and the prudent course of action for your company’s health. Here are four ways a data breach could hurt your business and your reputation in the long term.
1. Loss of Client Trust
Shattering your clients’ trust in your company is both the most immediate consequence of a data breach and the one with the greatest potential to haunt your business for a long time. Building up a dedicated audience for your brand is a painstaking task, one that can take years to solidify. You could lose everything you’ve built in a matter of days if bad actors are able to hack into your system and invade your customers’ private information.
Using a Cassandra GUI tool can mitigate the risk of a data breach by ensuring your clients’ information is rigorously protected and imposing strict limits on who can access the data, when, and from which devices.
2. Damage to Your Online Reputation
Many of the clients you lose will take out their frustration on your company by leaving bad reviews or calling you out on social media. If your company is large enough, news of the data breach might even make local or national news.
These posts, articles, and ratings won’t just go away over time. New clients looking for businesses in your industry will come across them when they run the name of your company through search engines. This dramatically decreases your chances of attracting a new customer base to replace the ones you lost as a result of the breach.
3. Mass Employee Turnover
We all know the saying—unflattering though it may be—about rats fleeing a sinking ship. Once your business takes a revenue hit and starts getting called out online, your star employees are going to start dusting off their resumes. Nobody wants to be stuck working at a company with a reputation for exposing its clients’ private information to hackers.
This turnover event won’t just affect the employees working at your company when the breach occurs. You’ll continue to have a tough time attracting and retaining high-quality employees for months and years to come. Interviewees will be deterred by your company’s history of low employee retention and will be more likely to seek employment elsewhere once their research uncovers your past data breach.
4. Legal Penalties
Finally, your company could suffer various legal penalties in the aftermath of a security breach. Failure to follow state and federal guidelines regarding consumer notification can result in heavy fines and even prosecution.
Additionally, your organization will likely face expensive lawsuits from angry clients that could bury your business in legal fees and settlements.
Be Vigilant About Your Cybersecurity
The only way to avoid a disastrous breach in your company’s cybersecurity is by investing in measures to protect consumer data. Whether you accomplish this through a dedicated IT department, by adopting secure online client tools, or a combination of the two, shoring up your cybersecurity is an essential part of running a business in the modern era.
Not every company will be subject to cybersecurity attacks, but all should be considered at risk. Preventative measures can save you and your employees from a single mistake that could continue to harm your business ventures for years, if not forever.