The consequences of a data breach

Preparing for a data breach by upgrading your data security practices could save your company from some pretty nasty consequences. Find out more below about why managers are seeking to improve their data security.

We all want to insulate our companies from the next big nasty surprise. Brexit, GDPR, economic uncertainty- we all want the peace of mind that solid planning and careful preparation can bring. But unlike some of the challenges of today’s business world, there’s no fixed point of preparedness for a data breach- no ‘secure enough’- this is because the threat is constantly evolving, improving and changing. It’s because this is an intelligent threat that firms across the world are making keeping on top of data security more and more of a priority. Contrary to popular opinion, only a small number of well-publicised data breaches are carried out with the goal of robbing the company themselves- a high risk strategy. Hackers often choose to target low-hanging fruit rather than tangling with the company itself- in the case of cybercrime this means the customers themselves, whose data is often stored on company systems which can be exploited more easily. This data can then be sold on to the black market to be used by scammers.

The immediate impact of these data losses for your company or institution is not necessarily financial- at least, not directly. The reputational damage you can suffer as a result of potentially exposing your customers’ personal details to scammers, and risking their privacy, is a long-lasting and potentially exponential threat to your business. Even if the data is recovered and not sold to criminals, or the amount of data lost is very small, once it’s been jeopardised it’s impossible to estimate the extent of the risk. Under GDPR rules, companies that have been exposed to this kind of data loss have to announce their mistake- meaning huge negative publicity, loss of trust, an exodus of concerned clients and lasting damage to your brand.

The damage doesn’t stop there, however. You could easily incur a serious fine to the ICO for allowing data to be lost, and could end up paying a substantial sum- an immediate hit to your finances but also an additional cost on top of your damaged brand and the subsequent loss of trade that incurs.

Finally, as your data protection practices have proven inadequate, you’ll need to urgently update your systems, at the cost of hiring consultation agencies and experts at short notice, to completely test, evaluate, and re-write your methods. This is not a small investment, and the immediate priority you’ll need to assign to this task will hit your budget even harder. In order to rehabilitate your reputation, you’ll need to make visible efforts to transform your company practices at great expense in terms of time, disruption and money.

The overall damage that a data loss can cause is therefore split between the immediate reputational damage and the longer-term impacts you’ll need to able to absorb as you recover from a data loss. The priority for businesses needs to be to ensure their practices are up to scratch before a data breach happens. By bringing practices up to date in advance of any data loss, you can save time, money, effort and risk to your brand early, and at a fraction of the expense of playing catch-up after you’ve been hit.

Speak to AssetCare today about the ways that data disposal and secure remarketing can help your businesses adapt to the new threat of data loss, and the ways we can minimise disruption as you ensure your data is safely controlled in the disposal process.