In October of 2016, a major distributed denial-of-service attack hit many of the internet’s major sites. This DDoS attack affected Twitter, eBay, and many other social sharing sites for hours. If you own a small business and use any of these sites to promote or run your small business, then you were probably frustrated by this turn of events. Cyber-attacks like these are becoming more common; however, they are not limited to larger sites. In fact, a security breach can seriously damage your small business or even destroy it in ways that you may have not ever considered.
1. Loss of Customer Trust
Your customers’ loyalty and trust in your company and your brand can be the backbone of your business, and if that is lost due to a cyber-attack, you may not be able to recover. Security breaches on your company website can result in customer passwords being stolen, credit card numbers being collected, and identity theft occurring. Even if you manage to patch the holes in your security, the customers who were affected may never return. For more information about how retail businesses are protecting their valued customers, visit MVU Online.
2. A Loss of Income
If your small business if one of your main sources of income, suffering a cyber-attack may damage your credit as you lose profits each day it is not resolved. Customers who cannot reach your website to purchase items may not wait and go elsewhere. Hiring a cyber security professional to fix the breach may cost hundreds of dollars out of pocket as well, especially if your previous security measures were minimal and you must now add additional security as well as having to pay to repair your site after an attack.
3. A Damaged Reputation
Fewer things are harder for a smaller business to bounce back from than an incident that damages its reputation. Even if the incident was unintentional, if it causes damage to a customer’s personal finances or seriously inconveniences them, those customers can use every social site at their disposal to tell everyone how your business wronged them. Once your website suffers a cyber-attack or phishing causes customers’ personal information to be stolen and word gets out, damage control becomes almost impossible, especially if your angry customers decide to be outspoken on social media.
4. The Loss of Your Website
You may have gained some education in management information systems or cyber security before opening your business. For example, UAB offers a masters in mis degree that may help you better manage the security and data side of your small business. However, if you do not have such a degree, then dealing with a cyber-attack on your website may prove to be overwhelming and force you to shut down your site and start from scratch, especially if your domain name has been permanently damaged by the attack. Starting over after having even a moderately successful business site may take more time and money than you can afford in the long run.
Effectively defending your small business website from cyber criminals and large-scale attacks can mean the difference between the survival and death of your company. The more time you take to ensure your site is protected, the better the chances of its long-term success.