A data breach can affect any business at any time. And one of the most prevalent myths among business owners is that they aren’t a target for such breaches because they’re not a multi-billion dollar corporation. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses are especially vulnerable to these attacks because they often don’t have the same resources as larger companies for combatting breaches.
The next myth associated with data breaches is that they’re so damaging simply because of the monetary impact they have on your company. The truth is that the monetary impact of a breach is only one component. Generally, your brand image is also going to suffer as a result — and this can take much longer to recover from. In this article, we’ll cover how a breach can result in customers losing trust in your brand, how you can manage your reputation during the recovery phase after a breach, and how you can protect your business from suffering a data breach in the first place.
Loss of Trust in Your Brand
A data breach can make customers lose trust in your brand, especially if it’s customer data that was compromised, such as credit card information. Studies have shown that 65% of customers lose some level of trust in a business after a breach occurs — and this includes customers who weren’t directly affected by the breach. The simple fact that a breach occurred can be enough to make customers wary. 52% say that they would choose a competitor who offers the same or a similar product after the business they were using is breached.
However, it’s not only your current customers you have to worry about losing if your business is the victim of a data breach. Even people who have never been customers of your brand will spread the news of the breach. Thanks to social media, these voices can become amplified and negatively affect your future customer prospects.
Recovery & Reputation
If your data is compromised, the first thing you’ll probably think about is how you’re going to go about recovering anything that was lost. While that’s certainly important, it’s just as important that you consider how your actions during this phase are going to impact your reputation moving forward. Will you come out of the breach with a reputation for being transparent and taking the right steps for your customers? Or will your brand be known for its poor response?
What To Do:
- – Acknowledge the breach as soon as you have a sufficient understanding of its scope. It’s better for you to break the news before another source does.
- – Put a system in place for notifying customers about new developments regarding your recovery efforts.
- – Be transparent with your customers and let them know what steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.
- – Share information about what your customers can do on their end to protect their data if it has been compromised.
What Not To Do:
- – It’s imperative that you do not hide the breach from your customers. They’re going to find out one way or another, so it’s best if it comes from you.
- – You also shouldn’t mention a definitive timeframe for when the breach will be resolved. If you don’t hit this deadline, your recovery effort will look like a failure to many on the outside. So it’s best not to put yourself in that potential position.
Taking Steps to Prevent Breaches
Of course, the best thing you can do for your business is to prevent a data breach from occurring in the first place. Cyber security measures such as email security, web filtering, and intrusion prevention can all go a long way toward closing any potential entry points into your network.
Email Security – Blocks spam, viruses, phishing attempts, and more. Many breaches are the result of unsuspecting employees clicking on malicious links they believe to be coming from a trusted source.
Web Filtering – Filters content, blocks unknown applications, and protects against malware. Web filters can be used to lock down the sites your employees can access with the company-issued devices or while connected to the company’s network on private devices.
Intrusion Prevention – Firewalls and VPNs can prevent attacks from penetrating your network. At the very minimum, your business should be using a firewall of some sort, but they work best when paired with other cyber security measures.
And, just in case a breach still manages to happen, having a disaster recovery plan in place will give you some additional peace of mind. A disaster recovery plan can help to streamline the recovery process after a breach, which will lessen the negative impact the breach has on your brand.
Prepare Before Your Data gets Breached
If your business hasn’t suffered a data breach, that’s great news! But rather than becoming complacent, you should use this time to prepare before it’s too late. A breach can result in both monetary losses and the loss of customer trust in your brand. It may also take a long time for your reputation to bounce back depending on the effectiveness of your recovery efforts. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to take steps to prevent breaches before they occur. Cyber security measures and a disaster recovery plan can go a long way.
IT Services Group
At ITSG, we can help set you up with cyber security measures and a disaster recovery plan so that your business is equipped to fend off and deal with any cyber attacks coming your way. Contact us today to learn more about the security options we offer.