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Still debating whether to conduct a serious analysis of your company’s data security vulnerabilities? Well, consider this...

Few businesses today operate in their own “data bubble.” Instead, organizations regularly participate in international supply chains and global networks that are more interconnected and complex than ever before. A single cyber-attack somewhere in one network can place a company’s entire supply chain at risk and expose its internal data to outside intruders. Just look at Target Corporation, which has so far incurred more than $88 million in costs addressing the data breach at its point-of-sale system in late 2013.

Costs associated with a data breach include loss of sales due to the shut down of internal and external systems once a breach is discovered. The length of time a system is shut down depends on the complexity of the breach and time needed to restore the systems. In the event federal and/or local authorities conduct a criminal investigation of the breach, the length of system interruption will likely last much longer than anticipated, resulting in higher loss of profits.

Additional costs include those associated with:

  • Customer notification
  • Government notification, depending on the nature of the business
  • Technology experts to identify the breach and restore the affected networks
  • Reputational damage and the cost to repair
  • Lost productivity of employees required to focus their time on the breach and related consequences
  • Legal fees

Moreover, there is an increasing chance that you will be sued by customers, whether individually or in class action lawsuits. The cost of defending these lawsuits can be significant, and could also result in the termination of senior management.

Needless to say, it is imperative that all businesses take the very real potential of a data breach seriously. As times change, so must our awareness and recognition of the technological environment in which we currently find ourselves. To do otherwise unnecessarily puts you and your organization in harms way.