Cyber attacks and threats have become one of the largest difficulties that organizations face in our modern age. With how much we rely on cyber and digital technologies for our business operations, infrastructure, and daily lives, it can be a disaster when any of these things are targeted by malicious attacks. Many organizations still have lacking cyber security for several reasons, and this simply leaves them vulnerable to the numerous threats that are extant within today’s landscape. Some smaller organizations will only have basic cyber security simply because they do not believe that they will be attacked due to their smaller size. But, this is dangerous, as cyber criminals do not discriminate when it comes to launching malicious attacks. In fact, many attackers will actually target smaller organizations because of their often lacking cyber security. A good example of this was the recent widespread ransomware attacks that hit organizations of all types and sizes with no discrimination.
There can be numerous damages as the result of a cyber attack. There is, of course, the immediate data loss or corruption that can come as a result, but there is also the factor of major financial loss. The financial damages of a single cyber attack can ripple out to amazing lengths, and many organizations fail to realize this. They may look at the immediate costs that can result from the initial attack, but it can extend much further than this.
Areas Affected by a Cyber Attack
First off, an organization may not have the direct resources themselves to be able to mitigate an incident or perform reparative actions, which can result in them having to recruit third party services to come back from an attack. This can be quite expensive depending upon the exact extent of a breach, which brings up another point, investigation. A breach or attack typically needs to be thoroughly investigated to determine the full range of effects and damages, which can be an additional financial cost before reparation can even begin.
Then there is the matter of ensuring that affected customers or clients are protected. Many attacks or breaches can target the customer base of an organization, and if their data is compromised, an organization must put in their due diligence to protect those affected. Depending on the type of information or funds affected, this could include working to remove any data that was publicly leaked, as well as providing identity protection or credit monitoring services to the affected customers.
And going even further, there can be potential legal costs. Many organizations that are breached or successfully attacked may have legal repercussions facing them. This could be the result of a single customer suing or a class action lawsuit filed against the organization as a result of the breach. This brings the numerous costs of a legal team, payouts to those affected and potentially covering the legal costs of those affected. And this may not even be the end, as there have been cases where an organization has to payout in several suits that were filed against them. A large example of this is the recent Target fiasco, where over 100 lawsuits were filed against them as a result of their 2013 credit card data breach. And one of the most recent suits against Target ended with the retailer having to pay out a total of $18.5 million across several states.
Of course, there is also the matter of fortifying cyber security to prevent further incidents from occurring. Depending upon the damage and extent of the initial attack, this could amount to quite a large sum. All vulnerabilities that led to the attack must be discovered and repaired, and current systems must be bolstered heavily to ensure that it does not happen again.
The Importance of Comprehensive Cyber Security
It can be quite difficult to give the exact cost of a cyber attack or data breach, as it can vary depending on the extent and effects of an incident. But, the above general explanation of the various costs does a pretty good job of displaying the overall potential of an incident. This is why it is so vital for organizations to ensure that they have comprehensive cyber security measures in place.