How Cybercrime Impacts Organizations and What You Can Do About It

Data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, malware, and corporate espionage are just some of the threats organizations have had to deal with these past several years.

Cybercrime is on the rise by 67% in the last five years, and businesses bear the brunt of its adverse effects.

According to the FBI, there has been a sharp rise in cybercrime, with reported losses reaching $2.7 billion in 2018. It has gotten so big that Accenture estimates that cybercrime will cost businesses a staggering $5.2 trillion worldwide. To make matters worse, criminals target small businesses with equal ferocity. According to CNBC, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, but only 14% of them have the means to defend against attacks.

These attacks cost businesses an estimated $200,000 on average, no matter how large the company is. With more than half of all companies reporting a breach in the past year alone, the negative impact of cybercrime is undeniable.

Cybercrime Changes the Way Companies Do Business

With the threat of a cyberattack looming on the horizon, businesses need to re-assess how they collect, store, and protect sensitive information. Many organizations have stopped the practice of storing their customers’ personal and financial information on their servers. There’s no data breach if there’s nothing to steal.

Some companies have even shut down their online storefronts due to growing concerns that they can’t protect against an attack. Sixty percent of organizations that suffer a breach go out of business after six months. Because the recent attacks have been mainstream, customers are now demanding to know how firms handle their data.

Even if cybercriminals can’t break into a company’s network, they can still cause problems by way of identity theft and fraud. Stolen personal information from one source can be the point of entry for another. Businesses need to have a good identity monitoring service in place to watch out for leaks and breaches that can affect their staff and clients.

Black and gray laptop computer turned on, rows of data onscreen; image by Markus Spiske, via Unsplash.com.
Black and gray laptop computer turned on, rows of data onscreen; image by Markus Spiske, via Unsplash.com.
Lost Business

Companies that suffer a breach not only lose a treasure trove of sensitive data, they also lose business and face stiff fines or even lawsuits. As mentioned earlier, more than half of small businesses that get attacked aren’t able to recover. If they pull through, there will always be a stigma that they’re not taking their customer’s information seriously.

Another favorite of cybercriminals is disrupting operations by using a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. A DoS attack will make websites or online stores unavailable to its users. Customers that can’t log in or use a company’s services are a significant revenue loss that can go viral. People who report on the issue and rant on social media can permanently damage the reputation of the affected company.

Protection Comes with a Cost

Cybersecurity costs money, and there’s no way around it. Companies need to invest in a robust security solution that can protect them from all kinds of threats. Cybersecurity efforts can be in the form of hiring a full-time security officer or a third-party consultant. There are various security solutions out there that are a combination of hardware, software, and monitoring.

The cost of cybersecurity goes beyond hiring someone and paying for programs. There are maintenance costs to consider, such as testing the systems for vulnerabilities, and making sure the protocols are effective against zero-day attacks.

There’s a cost of identifying risks and preparing safeguards and procedures to counteract the effects. While the upfront costs of security can be expensive, it is better to have some level of protection, rather than the alternative.

What You Can Do

Your organization needs to have the appropriate safety measures and protections in place to be better prepared for a cyberattack. Cybercrime comes in many forms, such as data breaches, DoS attacks, online scams, and identity fraud, to name a few. Consider hiring a full-time cybersecurity officer and make sure the whole organization is aware of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). If you would like to report an incident, you can file a report with the FBI here.

Summary

Data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, malware, and corporate espionage are just some of the threats organizations have had to deal with these past several years. The vast proliferation of data and advances in technology are some of the catalysts to the evolution of cybercrime. Businesses that have an online presence have to deal with the looming threat of cybercrime by having safeguards in place that can protect them from a cyberattack.