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Unsafe data storage can have disastrous effects on a business, both reputationally and financially, and take it down after a series of litigation attempts. Any business that works with data is susceptible to experiencing data breaches and cyberattacks, suffering the resulting damages. Huge companies face losing employees and their customer base, a possibly irreparable brand image, and hefty penalties and lawsuits. For small businesses that have just taken off, it may be too costly to recover, leaving no other option but abandon the plan.
Unfortunately, these devastating occurrences are more common than most business owners think. 18% of UK companies face a cyber breach monthly, meaning that data is subject to being stolen and used in harmful ways for you and the client in the case.
There are several consequences most businesses face and need to overcome to keep the company afloat, with the following topping the list as the most damaging ones.
Legal consequences are the first thing to consider when facing a lawsuit. They’re based on the type and location of the business, as well as the magnitude of the incident. In this regard, it’s important to note that data breaches go beyond the online environment. You’re not only responsible for what is inside your business’s database, but everyone involved in the business must treat the subject attentively. According to experts from https://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk/data-breach-compensation/data-breach-compensation-claim-examples/, data breaches can take any form as long as someone inside your company or weak security is at fault for not protecting the plaintiff’s information, and the company can get sued in case information is exposed. Data includes family composition, medical claims, addresses, and salaries – information that can affect the plaintiff.
When a company fails to protect the data it is in charge of may be called to court for a lawsuit. They may have to deal with legal consequences like the following:
- Compensation claims
- Sanctions and fines
- Professional and personal liability
- Third-party litigation.
Consequently, to prevent further breaches, the business may face investigations, formal notifications, law-specific deadlines, and other actions.
After the breach, the company must investigate it to establish its significance and the scope of damages. When businesses lack the proper security measures and don’t comply with the laws, the affected parties, whether they’re third parties or individuals, have grounds for a data breach lawsuit. Breach of warranty or fiduciary duty, negligent exposure, and false advertising may be at fault. The victim may seek compensation for the emotional suffering, time spent investigating, and financial damage. Because the existing regulations and laws help minimize the risks of such exposures, businesses must comply with them and use the best blanket of protection.
Reputational damage and loss of sales
Data breaches are among the most devastating events that can permanently ruin a company’s reputation. This is especially true for fresh businesses yet to mature and reach financial stability. In fact, small enterprises are those at the highest risk of experiencing cyberattacks, given that they don’t afford the expensive tools and strategies used by giant companies. However, the biggest ones are targeted, too, as they store valuable data, including big-name companies like Yahoo and LinkedIn, as well as governments.
While building a healthy reputation can take years, it is enough to destroy it by being linked to a data breach. It can affect stakeholders’ and customers’ trust, meaning they won’t be willing to engage with the ill-reputed company anymore.
Breaches are more commonplace and increasingly costly. According to IBM’s 2022 report, the cost of a data breach that year rose to $4.35 million from $4,24 in 2019, with estimates showing that it may increase to $5 million in 2023. This is just the first impact. In time, the business’s reputation is at stake and can lead to loss of customers. This means that the average cost of the catastrophe goes beyond the fines and fees and affects the company in the long term, hitting it hard enough not to be able to get back on track from where it left off.
The financial losses suffered when experiencing the cyberattack can take the form of loss of contracts, business disruption, theft of information, and increased expenses to maximize security in the future and prevent these occurrences from happening again.
Additional efforts to secure data
If the business fails to mitigate the damages, enforce security measures mandated by law, and notify the victims, it may face liability. This means taking financial responsibility for the accident. Regardless of whether it was an employee’s negligence that led to this event or a lack of an adequate budget for security tools when a data spillage happens, more actions must be taken, including sustained efforts to protect it from that point on, using more sophisticated tools, and training employees on the new practices.
The steps to recovering from data breach
Some companies choose to delay sharing data breach details or hide the event to save their reputation and keep the news from spreading. However, a lack of transparency and ownership can only lead to more problems, as it can’t stay undisclosed forever, and the affected parties will eventually discover the data breach.
Furthermore, by keeping it low profile and letting time pass, the company gives cyber attackers the gift of time, permitting them to do more damage.
The first step to minimizing the damage incurred is to notify the implicated parties immediately, including stakeholders, employees, customers, and even the authorities.
Secondly, securing the company’s data is crucial by changing the passwords and taking everything offline. Even though it may be tardive to prevent additional damage, this is not a reason to stay exposed to other vulnerabilities.
Data breaches are common, and if a business has been targeted once, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. The path to recovery begins with educating employees, identifying and removing malware, and repairing the affected devices. After that, the process of rebuilding the business can begin.