IT is now the cornerstone of how every modern business operates. With that comes the unassailable fact that proper levels of IT security are not negotiable. If you are not taking proper steps to ensure the security of your business’s IT systems, you are placing your business at risk. Along with yourself, your employees, and your customers/clients at great personal risk.
It is not enough. However, to understand that you need proactive IT support to ensure your IT security is up to scratch. To truly understand the situation, you need to know the potential consequences are of an IT security breach. Here are some common outcomes.
When IT security is lax, it invites data thieves to pray on the confidential data your business carries. Think for a moment about the data you deal with on a daily basis. Customer information, payment details, bank accounts, employee and client details, credit and debit cards, details about your suppliers and other clients. The list goes on.
What would happen if that information got into dangerous hands? You can only imagine but suffice to say that the lives of your employees, clients, and customers would be greatly affected in very negative ways. This could be as innocuous as using their addresses to send them targeted junk mail. Which would be annoying but not life-changing. But it could easily be something as serious as using payment details to make fraudulent purchases or simply taking money straight out of their accounts.
Nobody wants to do business with a company that is not secure. It is as simple as that. Think about it, would you choose to spend your hard-earned money with a business that has just proved itself unable to handle customer data securely or too careless to put in the effort to increase security levels? No, you wouldn’t, and nor will your customers if your security is compromised.
Technology is moving at a constant rate and as a result, so is the threat of cyber-crime. You need to be proactive in making sure your business is protected. Failing to do so actually gives an unintended glimpse into the way your business operates. If you are not putting in the required IT security for the business, then what other aspects of your business are you failing to place proper attention in keeping up to date? This sort of negative perception is extremely difficult to come back from.
This is a direct result of the last point because of that damage to your public image having an obvious knock-on effect on your ability to be competitive in the marketplace. If more customers don’t feel their confidential data is secure, they will choose to give their business to your competitors which will drastically hit your profits.
Depending on the nature of the IT security breach it could have other consequences as well. Such as data thieves could get access to your business bank accounts. With proper fraud protection, you could get this money back from the bank. But that sort of thing normally takes time, usually anything from a few days up to a few months depending on the amount taken and any investigations that need to be performed. If nothing else the security of your IT system would need to be considerably improved, which could require extensive investment.
The issues that arise from your negative image from a data security perspective will not just affect how your business is viewed by customers and clients. The damage could be even more far-reaching internally than externally. Your employees are the core of your business, and if they feel that the business doesn’t take data security seriously, are they unlikely to continue working for you?
How could your business cope if half of your staff decided to hand in their notice first thing on Monday morning citing security concerns? Have you got a contingency plan in place for this? It is unlikely, few businesses do, but the reality is that this is a very real concern when it comes to matters surrounding data security. Lives could be genuinely affected by sensitive data getting into the hands of cyber-criminals, employees will not take kindly to any company that has not taken the proper precautions with their IT security.
Don’t forget that if your business deals with any sort of confidential information, then you are going to almost certainly be under some form of a legal requirement to take the proper steps to keep that information safe. The data could be in the form of employee and client details or other confidential data. Are you familiar with what your legislative obligations are in terms of your IT security? If not, you should be!
The consequences of this are obvious and depending on the severity of the resulting IT security breach the punishment metered out could be more than your business can survive. For example, a relatively minor blip in an otherwise secure system could result in a warning or a small fine.
A larger-scale breach or failing to comply with legislation could result in severe penalties such as much more punishing fines or even in certain circumstances a jail sentence.
Data is now seen to be more valuable than oil! So give it the respect it should and have the right security in place so that you can sleep comfortably at night.