A modern business enterprise uses information technology services to bring efficiency, improve productivity, streamline services, enhance customer experience and meet the business goals. And if the enterprise uses sensitive customer information as a part of its business dealings then ensuring its security and integrity is of foremost importance. Moreover, to follow industry best practices and to foster trust in your clients and customers, the enterprise should adhere to security protocols such as FDIC, GLBA, HIPAA, HITECH, NCUA, OCC and PCI DSS. As adherents to the security mandates, you should carry out periodic risk assessments to identify the vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities, if left unchecked and unplugged, can result in security breaches.
Consequences of Security Breaches
Data or information theft: By penetrating into your systems, hackers can steal classified business information, trade secrets, and customer/employee information. The theft can lead to disastrous consequences wherein your business can invite lawsuits, regulatory censure, and loss of revenue. In fact, the security breach can lead to the breaking of trust that you have built assiduously over the years with your clients, customers and employees. Needless to say, your business can end up looking at a scenario where its very survival can be called to question.
Competitors Gaining an Edge: Just imagine your competitors getting to know of your trade secrets, intellectual property, strategies, clients or customers. They can use such information to further strengthen their business prospects at your cost. And when your business prospects suffer as a result of security breaches, the competitors can step in and fill the void. Result: You lose out on the competition.
Vandalism: Hackers, by gaining entry into your systems, can plant misleading or false information leading to the loss of trust with your customers or clients. This way hackers can ruin your business reputation in minutes, which could be very difficult to recover from, if at all.
Loss of Revenue: Apart from stealing business or customer information, hackers can disrupt your IT systems. If such disruptions continue for a long period, it can lead to the missing of deadlines and loss of revenue. Also, such a scenario would make you appear unreliable and lose credibility. There can be several tangible and intangible losses as well such as increased insurance premiums, high cost of borrowing, and piling of debts, among others.
Penalties: In addition to inviting censure from regulatory bodies, your enterprise can face harsh penalties as well. Among the most draconian of provisions, the one from GDPR can cause an enterprise to become insolvent. To come into effect from 25th May, 2018, GDPR shall charge an enterprise a whopping fine of 20 million Euros or 4% of its annual revenue, whichever is higher should the enterprise falls foul of protecting customer data by not maintaining adequate safeguards.
To avoid the above mentioned pitfalls, you should invest in auditing the information security infrastructure from time to time. In fact, engaging professional information security audit services can be more effective in identifying and plugging the loopholes.
The ever increasing threat of cyber security can undermine an enterprise’s credibility, business, revenue and brand value. The only way to prevent the same is by conducting a periodic security audit of all systems, processes, and databases. An important component of the audit is to involve stakeholders like employees, vendors, clients and even customers.