A study analyzed how a large-scale data breach may cost a company performing remote work billions of dollars that would be difficult to bounce back from due to Covid-19.
As companies turn to remote work and consumers increasingly result to online shopping this provides opportunity for hackers to steal data. Indeed, a data breach could cost companies devastating losses. A cloud storage and information technology company, Iomart, published results of its study on what a data breach could cost firms.
Through a meta-analysis of other technology reports, Iomart found an average drop of $32.2 billion for top U.S. companies if a data breach were to occur. Respectively, among the top three firms on the NASDAQ 100, Apple could lose $95.7 billion, Microsoft $81.6 billion and Amazon $68.7 billion. Furthermore, a severe data breach could cost firms $174 million per day, a net worth drop of 7.27 percent.
Emily Garner, content specialist at marketing agency, Blueclaw, told New York City Wired that Covid-19 raises cybersecurity concerns for remote workers. “During these unprecedented times…the largest enterprises are seeing a dip in revenue and are having to adapt to remote working conditions, which are often less secure than traditional office setups. Currently, major firms are downsizing their technology departments, which may result in higher likelihoods of data breaches and prolonged exposure of private data to criminals. “No corporation would escape such an incident unscathed,” Garner said.
Further, the time it takes to identify a data breach and to remove any malicious software from the system equates to a further loss of a company’s net worth. Typically, it takes about 187 days to identify a breach and another two months to contain it. Affected companies continue to lose revenue for as long as the spyware is embedded. Other factors may contribute to a company’s monetary loss including reputational impact, as in the case of loss of privacy from social media companies’ data breaches and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines.
“Reputational damage would be extremely difficult to recover from during the pandemic for even the largest scale businesses as consumers grow more aware of data protection while spending more time online, and potential data breaches could cripple small businesses who cannot afford to lose up to 7.5% of their market value and 4% of their annual revenue,” Garner said.
GDPR protects consumers such as social media users by imposing fines when their private information is stolen or when a company mishandles that data. Most notably, social media firms such as Facebook face the strictest penalties from data breaches. Garner related that social media breaches are more likely during the pandemic while citizens remain at home.
To prevent a data breach companies should invest in security (Iomart offers services), train staff, control access to sensitive data, control email inboxes and store private data separately. Consumers can also protect their data by remaining vigilant online. “Consumers should follow Iomart’s advice as far as they are able to while working from home and spending more time alone, including taking the time to install suitable anti-virus software, limiting the amount of information they share online, and always ensuring sites are encrypted when making online payments,” Garner said.