Data Breaches: 5 Tough Consequences For Businesses

by | November 20, 2021 | Cybersecurity

Data breaches can be the end of your business, and odds are greater for small or medium-sized companies.

Figures show that 60% of SMBs will be forced to close operations within half a year of the attack.

Data breaches bear immense costs to businesses.

Data Breaches & Teeth-Grinding Stats

If you manage to stay afloat after suffering a data breach, then expect massive financial damages, which Ponemon Institute and IBM estimated at an average of $4.24 million.

But there’s much more than what meets the eye to the impact of a data breach. So we’ve compiled a list of five long-term consequences of such an attack, to help you understand its magnitude and better prepare for one.

1. Loss of Sales

One heavy-impact consequence of a data breach is the reputational damage, which results in a loss of customers and, in turn, a sensible decrease in sales. Losing their trust in your company, they will start looking somewhere else. So competition that hasn’t suffered a cyberattack seems like a good option. Negative reports and headlines will also turn off potential new customers.

2. Poisoned Search Results

Once on the Internet, forever on the Internet. Victims of data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks will remain tainted with irreversible damage to their image, no matter how long ago the attack happened.

Search engines will return not-so-flattering results, associating your brand with a data breach – news, reports, social media posts, and so on.

For SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses), data breaches will deal a heavy blow to their good name. Lost customers will spread the word about how they lost their trust, making others skeptical about your brand’s reliability.

3. Unexpected Expenses

A data breach can mess up all your calculations regarding your company’s budget. Unfortunately, most companies overlook the importance of cybersecurity insurance, which leads to significant unexpected costs that their budget may not cover.

Also, losses from downtimes need to be considered. Worst-case scenario, data breaches can result in a devastating ransomware attack, and the damages are no joke.

4. Legal Penalties

After suffering a data breach, you must make sure that all your customers are notified, according to state and federal laws. Even worse, if you work with an international database, prepare for the sanctions of global data privacy compliance violations.

5. Skeptical New Employees

Data breaches will often result in executives leaving the company or being fired because of the incident’s repercussions. In addition, some employees will choose to leave due to the finger-pointing, stress, and intense efforts involved with remediating an incident.

Replacing those employees will not be an easy task. Any new staff member will have to deal with post-attack cleanup right from the start.

IT and security professionals are on the front line of defending your network against data breaches. Because of workforce shortages in this field, people with these skills are highly sought after. Therefore, they can refuse a job from an organization with flawed security defenses and a history of data breaches. This worsens the aftermath of an incident, making HR’s job much more difficult and extending the mitigation time.

No Business Is Safe From Data Breaches

A data breach is more than that moment in time that compromised your network. Its consequences extend over very long periods of time.

Every company faces countless attacks daily. Increase your business’s value by implementing a robust cybersecurity system, establishing a data breach response plan, and preparing your employees with a strong security awareness training program.

Most data breaches start with phishing emails.

Over one billion phishing emails are sent out each day, and many of them bypass security filters. Thus, you need to be able to rely on your employees to stay vigilant and spot phishing scams.

You can successfully defend your business partly by training your employees on cybersecurity matters and especially phishing attacks, and partly by adopting more rigorous security measures, such as implementing multi-factor authentication and user behavior analytics.

Researching the latest phishing trends and strategies and adequately training your employees can be a hassle, so leave it to professionals.

ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you equip your employees with the necessary security knowledge and up-to-date security practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irreparable damage.


Feature image: Technology photo created by –

Data illustrations by Storyset

Business illustrations by Storyset

by Diana Panduru

Content writer for Attack Simulator. Passionate about all things writing and cybersecurity, and obsessed with driving. I sometimes indulge in pencil drawing, poetry, and cooking for fun.

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