The Value of Knowing the True Cost of Cyberattacks

The advent of technology has enabled businesses to reach a slew of new potential clients from the farthest corners of the globe. Without a doubt, the digital revolution has made the world smaller – for better or for worse. 

The benefits that come with the digitization of business transactions are undeniable. However, new income-generating, reputation building avenues like a company website and server has also given rise to new threats. With more companies moving towards the internet to conduct their day-to-day operations, the number of cyberattack cases has also been on the rise. 

Depending on the specific type of threat, cyberattacks are designed to exploit loopholes and weaknesses in a network’s security protocol. The motive for these attacks vary. However, for the most part, perpetrators of cybercrimes are driven by monetary and financial gain. 

One common misconception about cyberthreats is the severity of their effect on a company’s overall standing. Because most digital assets are intangible in nature, there is an assumption that cybercrime wouldn’t cause serious damage. This cannot be farther from the truth. In this article, we intend to explore the real cost of cyberattacks. 

Based on Statistics: The Average Cost of Cyberattacks

Similar to the rise of cyberattack cases, the last few years have seen a steep increase in the average cost of cyberattacks. 

According to statistics, the financial damage from a ransomware threat alone has ballooned from $533,000 to $646,000 in a single year. Likewise in 2019, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, otherwise known as IC3, recorded around 500,000 cases of cybercrimes that targeted both businesses and individuals. These cases amounted to $3.5 billion in losses. It is important to note that the amount of damage, as well as the number of cases, only take into consideration reported instances. 

There are different factors that dictate the financial damage a cyberattack can impose on a company. Between the type of cyberattack, the scale of the threat, and the size of the company being attacked, these are a few considerations that need to be top of mind. 

For the most part, below are the averages for the most common types of cyberattacks based on Accenture’s Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study:

  • The average loss from a malware attack is around $1.4 million. This is in large part due to the loss of information. 
  • Likewise, web attacks that can result in information loss cost $1.4 million in losses. 
  • Attacks that aim to deny service to customers resulting in business disruption on average costs $1.1 million in damage. 

When it comes to business cyberattacks, no industry is left unscathed. However, there are verticals that are often targeted by malicious individuals. Because of the sensitive nature of the information that they carry, the banking, utilities, and software industries experience the most threats.

Assessing Cyberattack Damage: The Effects of a Successful Threat

The effects of cyberattacks should never be underestimated. Even for smaller companies and individuals, these breaches can result in irreparable damage. Understanding the effects of a cybercrime will make it easier for organizations to determine the potential cost of cyberattacks. Below are just a few repercussions that might come out of a successful threat:

Disruption of Operations

There are types of cyberattacks that can affect your business almost instantly. For instance, denial-of-service, otherwise known as DoS attacks, can prevent legitimate customers from completing their transactions. Not only do these types of attacks compromise your ability to reach your current clientele, but these breaches can discourage potential clients from becoming loyal customers.

Loss of Income

If people are hesitant to access your website because of the threat of a breach, your company is losing out on income-generation. Cyberattacks can take down your website for hours-on-end making the inaccessible and unusable for your clients. 

Damage to Reputation

Arguably, one of the most daunting effects of a successful cyberattack threat is damage to your company’s reputation. For the most part, there is a way to recoup income loss due to a breach. But, especially if your client’s information has been compromised, they are most likely to take their business elsewhere and discourage their peers from choosing your operation. This is the most long-term and most expensive cost of cyberattacks.

Importance of Protecting Your Digital Assets

If you are out of depth when it comes to cybersecurity, it is best to leave it to professionals. However, there are simple things that you can implement within your company that can provide a layer of protection for your digital assets. 

Create a List of All Your Digital Assets

Before attempting to protect your systems and servers, it is best to have a clear picture of the assets that you intend to protect. Taking inventory of your digital assets can also help you reassess what you may or may not need. These assets can include:

  • Your company’s website – domain and content
  • Your company’s social presence
  • Your customer database
  • Your operational processes
  • Your company photos and videos
  • Trademarks and patented information

Keep All Your Device Updated

Hackers gain access to sensitive information by exploiting loopholes in your network’s security protocols. Failing to keep your device and applications updated is an easy weakness to gain access from. Keeping your operating systems and cloud-based applications up to date is an easy way to protect your digital assets. 

Likewise, it is as important to secure your workspace’s WiFi connection.  Change the network name and regularly update passwords. 

Limit Access 

Not every single one of your employees need access to sensitive information about your company. In fact, most of them probably do not need full access to your network in order to accomplish their tasks. It is best to set limitations as to who can access sensitive data. 

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Investing in legitimate means of protecting your digital assets should be a priority. Truth be told, the cost of anti-malware applications and traditional assessments are pennies compared to the potential loss that comes with the true costs of cyberattacks.

Better safe than sorry.  

Looking for effective preventive measures against the most common cyberattacks? Feel free to explore GRED WebCheck, our early warning system and vulnerability assessment tool.