Security

Cyber security drop due to COVID-19 could cost millions

20th May 2020
Alex Lynn

As organisations shift to remote working and are operating with a reduced workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are at risk of a significant increase in costly cyber attacks. New research, published in a data breach report by cloud solutions company iomart, analyses the financial impact of typical, severe and catastrophic data breaches to reveal what each could cost small businesses, tech companies and social media platforms.

The amount lost per breach is determined by the time it takes to identify and contain an incident. Many organisations are struggling to implement an effective business continuity plan as a result of an unprecedented shift to remote working, thereby significantly reducing their reaction time in the event of a data breach.

One third of businesses have been forced to axe essential IT staff as a result of Covid-19 cost concerns, while more than four in ten businesses admitted that their remote working practices aren’t in line with GDPR requirements.

The typical data loss for a large company is between ten and 99 million records per incident, resulting in an average company value drop of 7.27%. These costs increase if a data breach infringes GDPR guidelines, which could cripple smaller companies and businesses that cannot stand to lose up to ten percent of their market value.

With 60% of businesses reported as having experienced a serious security breach in the last two years, it’s crucial that business owners take steps to prioritise data security in order to minimise loss in the event of a substantial breach.

Bill Strain, Product Development Director at iomart, said on the findings: “These figures are a stark warning about the importance of investing in data protection. Many smaller businesses wouldn’t survive the operational impact of a successful cyber attack, let alone the financial one of a punishing fine on top.

“Looking at your potential risk and knowing where your data is, controlling who has access to it, and making sure it’s secure should be an absolute priority.

“It’s still the case that most cyber attacks start by exploiting our human vulnerability. By training staff to spot suspicious emails or links you can lock the front door and then use technological solutions to ensure the hackers can’t get in around the back.”

iomart also offers some top tips on how businesses can create an effective defence against such an attack:

  • Keep IT systems and software up-to-date
  • Store sensitive data separately
  • Control users’ access and privileges
  • Secure the email gateway
  • Do regular off-site backups of your data
  • Provide regular security training for all staff

With more businesses planning to implement remote working as a long-term strategy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s never been more important to ensure data security and GDPR compliance remains intact regardless of where an organisation is based.

 

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