How Much Can a Cyberattack Cost My Business?

The damages a single cyberattack can have on a business is growing exponentially. Attacks are becoming harder to stop and often aren’t even detected until it’s too late. Even major global corporations live in constant fear of the next attack from a person somewhere across the world sitting in their bedroom and engineering an attack.

Attacks, especially financially motivated ones, are used mainly to target large businesses. However, with data coming into the picture, the attacks now include small ones. The repercussions of a cyberattack aren’t strictly financial, and companies can get insurance for such attacks.

Sometimes, the reputational damage is worse and irreversible. To ensure your business doesn’t join the ranks of companies damaged by cyberattacks, keep an eye out for the most notorious offender among all cyberattacks: ransomware.

Paying Ransom

Ransomware is a type of malware that cyber attackers use to encrypt and lock their target’s data. In exchange for the data, they then ask companies for ransom. Attackers usually threaten to delete the data or leak it to the public if the business doesn’t comply. While they sometimes demand side-services or favors, the motive is mostly financial, with costs averaging around $84,000 per attack, and many businesses opting to pay the ransom.

Some of the most devastating ransomware attacks happened in 2019. One victim was the Danish medical hearing aid company, Demant. The entire incident cost the company over $80 million, and that’s with a cyber insurance policy in place. It took Demant weeks to recover and resume businesses as usual, as the attack managed to take down its entire IT department.

Also, Norsk Hydro had to pay over $60 million to restore its systems, as the company refused to pay for ransom and got their data from their backups. The attack started at their U.S.-based branch in March, and they were closed business until summer.

Locked Data and Time Lost

After gaining access to a device or network, the ransomware uses secure encryption on their target’s data, preventing them from accessing it. While money is mostly non-changing in its value, data’s price depends on how much it’s worth for the buyer, which is continuously changing. Hackers can illegally sell their data to a variety of buyers, from marketing agencies to individuals looking for a new ID or committing fraud.

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Besides the primary loss of either the data or the ransom money, businesses then need to recover from the attacks. This process also takes time and money, during which most business operations halt or significantly decrease, as companies need to clean their network and all its devices. Any trace of the malware or back door left by the hacker can leave vulnerable to future attacks. Sometimes, this process requires wiping the systems and starting over with backed-up data.

Reputation Damage

While you can prepare your company for technical and financial repercussions with insurance and regular backup, that’s not the case for the reputational damage. Cyberattacks, especially ones that target data, can make clients and investors uncomfortable working with the company, fearing their digital safety. Restoring even a fraction of your reputation takes months of extensive public relations work. Even then, you might not be able to restore your reputation to what it was before the cyberattack.

Building Up Defenses

So far, the only way for your business to survive a ransomware attack is to avoid it altogether. You can only dream of achieving that by investing in a top-of-the-line cybersecurity system that fits your business. Seventy percent of network breaches were caused by outside actors who took advantage of unsecured access points. Using endpoint detection and response (EDR) software is one of the most advanced ways to secure all access points to a network.

EDR software works by keeping track of all endpoints, watching out for suspicious activity. It detects attacks before they happen and initiates the perfect response. It uses machine learning and pattern recognition to identify never-seen-before attacks and records all the data for future incidents. New types of cyberattacks are increasing by the day, and investing in managed endpoint security services might be your only line of defense against them.

Understand the Reasons Behind Every Risk

Understanding the reasons behind attacks that specifically target businesses like yours can help you invest in the right security system. Treating all risks the same regardless of the hacker’s motivations and methods is a recipe for disaster. High-quality security software can only take you and your business so far. Just being aware of the threats lurking around every corner will help your business survive and thrive.