What a data breach could mean for your small business
Posted on: May 29th, 2019
If your business stores any information, then you could be a target for a data breach. Small businesses often assume that they are too small to fall victim to a breach, but this is not the case. 1 in 4 Australian small businesses have fallen victim to cybercrime, according to Norton’s cyber security survey in 2017. A data breach can have a significant negative impact on small businesses.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is where the personal information held by a business is lost or accessed by an unauthorised party. Essentially, your data falls into the wrong hands. Any data stored could be affected, such as customer information.
Data breaches can occur from several sources. A breach can be accidental, caused by human error such as employees answering phishing emails. They can also be negligent, whereby employees avoid their responsibilities or policies to cause the breach. Malicious attacks occur when external sources outside of the business hack into databases. But no matter how the breach happens, it will be costly for your small business.
How a data breach can impact your small business
Damage to reputation and brand image
Data breaches will significantly affect a brands reputation and image, resulting in a loss of customers. Consumers and existing customers will no longer trust the organisation and will choose to shop somewhere else where they feel their information is safe.
Reduction in traffic
If your website is attacked, search engines may implement a notice to users that the website is unsafe. This will result in decrease in website traffic, and ultimately sales and revenue for the business.
Loss of finances
If the hacker acquires your bank account details, a data breach will result in your accounts being emptied and could result in your small business being unable to operate.
Stolen intellectual property
A data breach may also affect your intellectual property. This could include confidential documents, ideas, and templates used in day to day work. Loss of intellectual property can significantly impact small businesses ability to grow in the future.
What your small business can do to prevent a breach
- Ensure that all your systems and devices have the latest software updates.
- Train your employees on cyber safety and best practices, including using strong passwords and how to identify suspicious emails.
- Consider utilising cloud services to store all your information. The cloud offers scalability and security to store sensitive data as your small business grows. onPlatinum’s cloud solution offers daily backups in multiple locations, automatic updates, and 24/7 monitoring.s
It’s important to note that small businesses must meet the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme of the Privacy Act and report all data breaches to the authorities and the public. Click here to find out more about the scheme.
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