It might be Halloween season, but for SMEs the scariest nightmare is a year-round concern: the spectre of data loss. If you’re not considering your data security, you’re behind the trend- since GDPR came into effect in May, businesses around the world have raced to protect their data better, and the spotlight has been shone onto data security like never before.
- UK companies that hold electronic information on customers have a 51% chance of suffering a cyber-attack- for other companies it’s 37%.
According to the government’s own figures, the rates of cybercrime are staggering- yet there are suggestions the situation is even bleaker than this. While understanding in the business world of the threat of a data loss incident grows- partly thanks to the increasingly shocking scandals emerging from lapses in security- there is still much evidence to suggest business leaders are behind the curve and lacking understanding of data security. This was shown as recently as May this year, when 50% of business openly admitted not understanding the new GDPR regulations- even though a breach of these could cost millions.
- 60% of SME’s that encounter data loss go out of business within 12 months
…and that was before GDPR. Now the rules are stricter, the fines are bigger, and the repercussions even more serious. Very often the implications of a data loss, in particular the loss of customer trust and reputation caused by such a serious slip-up, holes these vulnerable SMEs below the waterline- after you’ve lost your customer’s data, it’s too late to act. Add litigation, fines, lost businesses and and the addition expense of fixing the data leak- it’s not surprising so many small firms, all too often the least equipped to cover the additional cost, go under following a data loss incident.
- 30% of UK companies experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months.
The government published statistics for attempted cybercrimes against companies last year, showing huge numbers of businesses are facing the threat of data theft. The ones at risk are predominately small and medium sized businesses, as these are often considered ‘low hanging fruit’ by hackers and data thieves.
- Poor waste management is the largest cause of data loss
A recent study showed poor disposal practices were the most common root of data losses. From big companies to the NHS to the police, there have been dozens of cases of sensitive data lost- often with the potential to cause significant harm. Each of these cases came with a hefty fine by the ICO- and now under GDPR, the fines will be even tougher. The real cost, however, is borne by the individuals whose personal, private data is often compromised, sold illegally and passed into the hands of scammers, criminals and con artists. There’s no doubt that in a time of increased risk, there’s an expectation from regulators of increased scrutiny and harsher judgement of infractions: so protect your company today.