Data loss prevention.

The astounding costs of a data loss disaster

The specter of data loss casts a long shadow over business continuity and productivity for those who are paying good attention.

In spite of this, many companies still fail to take data loss or breach as serious as they should. A little information can go a long way. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the astounding costs of a data loss disaster to see the potential consequences of not taking data loss serious.

While we’re at it, let’s also take a look at how the right guidance can ensure your business’s story doesn’t become a cautionary tale.

The cost of a single careless employee.

You’ve probably heard of the Anthem Healthcare Data Breach by now. The healthcare giant had 80 million Americans’ personal data compromised by a malware attack. What you may not know is how that breach came to take place.

The breach happened after a single Anthem employee clicked on a phishing email, allowing hackers to infiltrate their entire system.

Mull that over for a moment. The largest healthcare data breach in history was caused by a single user with network credentials clicking on a phishing email. Worse, the data theft happened over the course of almost a month before being detected.

That’s a long time for unauthorized users to harvest data.

In the wake of the breach, Anthem was forced to take several expensive mitigating steps to right the ship. They included:

“$2.5 million to engage expert consultants; $115 million for the implementation of security improvements; $31 million to provide initial notification to the public and affected individuals; and $112 million to provide credit protection to breach-impacted consumers.”  Bank Info Security

The cost to their brand’s reputation is harder to calculate. But the fact that we’re still talking about it suggests it was high. Only a company of Anthem’s size could have survived such a massive breach. Had it been a smaller company, their reputation would be irrelevant, because they would be out of business.

How to avoid this for your company.

Are you training your employees on how to spot phishing emails and other online threats? If not, you should start. And what about penetration testing? It’s hard to know where you’re vulnerable without checking to see. Test your network for vulnerabilities ASAP.

Consider bringing in an IT expert to consult on the state of your network security and recommend potential solutions.

These could include anything from new best security practices, like data encryption, to full-time network oversight or backup services. If Anthem’s story is any indication, the cost of doing nothing is far more severe than the cost of oversight and consultation.

SMB vulnerability?

Think the kinds of stories mentioned above only apply to enterprise-level companies? Think again. The numbers are clear. 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses.

And what’s worse,  60% of SMBs who lose their data close within six months.  Ransomware attacks caused 22% of infected SMBs to cease business operations immediately.  At a minimum, the businesses who didn’t shut down paid costly revenue to get their data back.

The numbers are clear on that: 2 out of 3 infected companies pay ransomware demands to restore their data.

All of these scenarios could have been avoided by engaging with a professional data backup solution. But what about downtime? Even if you have adequate backup to protect your data from theft or loss, do you have a plan to restore it quickly?

Downtime can cost SMBs between $8,000 and $74,000 per hour. Which means that even if you have a good backup solution, the time you spend implementing it after a data loss or breach incident could still cost a ton of money. Maybe even enough to crater your business.

To avoid this, consider working with a professional IT consultant to develop both a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan so that you are prepared to get back to work fast after a downtime incident related to data loss. It could save you thousands of dollars.

Are you prepared to prevent data loss?

Good businesses plan for the future and prepare for the worst. They play to their own strengths and lean on other professionals to shore up strengths outside their area of expertise.

So how will you protect your company from data loss? Are you prepared for the ever-increasing threats from malware and ransomware? What would you do if all your business data disappeared tomorrow as a result of natural disaster or human error?

These are all pertinent questions that require responsible, in-depth solutions. We recommend taking the time to answer them sooner than later, and reaching out to a professional if your answers don’t make the grade. Don’t wait until a data loss emergency turns into a travesty. Protect your business before it’s too late!