Cyber security is one of the most pressing issues for businesses in 2022. More people than ever before are working online and remotely, which significantly amplifies the risks of a cyber attack.
That is an attack that targets the IT systems of a company. These hacks are usually carried out with the aim of getting access to sensitive company data or financial information.
The impact of cyber crime can be severe for firms affected. It can result in the theft of crucial data or even financial resources, but can also cost firms dearly in terms of loss of public trust.
That said; this is a very difficult economic period for businesses in the US. Inflation and other costs are leaving business owners weighing up the price of cyber security against the financial risks of not protecting themselves.
Why it is better to make the investment
(Cyber security is worth the price)
The latest index published by the National Federation of Independent Businesses showed optimism levels among small firms had fallen by another 3.6 points. Companies are worried about recession, shortages of staff, inflation and other rising costs, so the temptation to cut corners on things like cyber security is understandable.
That does not make it the right decision though. On top of other economic concerns, the damage caused by a data breach could be enough to kill a small business right now.
It is not just about avoiding disaster though. Finding the money for cyber security has clear benefits for companies. Among them are the following:
- Safeguarding the reputation of the business
The public are very aware of cyber crime and it makes them wary of sharing personal or financial data online. Research has shown that 86% of customers feel that businesses should carry responsibility for securing any data they share with them.
That clearly places the onus on the company and people will continue to use firms that they trust with their personal information. Thus an investment in cyber security is investing in the long-term success of the business.
- Maximizing productivity
A data breach will be a major disruption to the everyday processes of a business. Time will have to be spent on finding out whom and what caused it to happen.
That means investing in cyber security upfront can help to maximize the productivity of your employees. It will ensure that the work is able to continue smoothly without having to put important operations on hold to deal with a security crisis.
This leads neatly to the third benefit of securing a company’s IT systems.
- Rising profits
A business that consumers trust to keep their sensitive data safe from criminals will reap the benefits in terms of both new and returning customers. That plus the lack of delays and disruptions caused by cyber crime will ensure greater profitability for the company in question.
- Facilitating safe remote working
For many businesses, having employees work away from the office at least part of the time represents the new model. The events of the past two years have accelerated that, but the change was already underway.
It can pose data risks though, if the outside networks they are using are not secured. The previous generation of cyber security solutions was not designed for this, but newer ones like Perimeter 81 are.
Offering the chance to build virtual private networks (VPNs) in the cloud that deploy cutting edge data encryption, they can enable hybrid working models without the risk of data being compromised.
What are the costs of cyber security?
It is possible to recognize the vital importance of cyber security for businesses while also acknowledging that there is a price tag. The costs will vary considerably based on factors such as how much sensitive data the company stores and the size of the business.
As an example of the difference the latter makes, a firewall for a large company can cost up to $6000, while for a smaller one it will be closer to $400. Of course, firewalls are only one aspect of a comprehensive cyber security system.
Providers that can offer all-in-one cyber security will usually represent a more cost-effective choice than looking to multiple different providers. The costs may still seem steep to firms struggling with the economic climate, but the potential financial damage caused by data breaches will be far greater.
A cyber crime report conducted by the Ponemon Institute and the IBM found that average costs to a business as a result of data breaches stood at $4.21 million. Furthermore, the longer such breaches go without being picked up on, the higher the eventual bill faced by the company.
That is a catastrophic cost to any business, but for smaller ones it would almost certainly represent the end of the line. At a time when remote and home working is becoming standard within such companies, security dangers are real and companies simply cannot afford to turn a blind eye to them.
This is a difficult time for small businesses. They are facing a range of rising operating costs as well as inflation. Trying to reduce costs is inevitable in that environment, but cyber security should not be sacrificed.
Doing so will be a false economy, because the rise of remote working leaves such businesses highly vulnerable to cyber attacks. The cost of the latter will be much higher in terms of finance.