Businesses and Seasonal Coverage: What’s Putting You at Risk for a Cyber Attack

Media Division | December 28, 2016

With more of our society integrated into cyberspace than ever, there is a lot of responsibility that rests upon the cyber security teams working to keep organizations, consumers, and technology safe.  The consistent monitoring, fortifying, and defense of the cyber world from these teams is what keeps these systems from being compromised.  A cyber security team is in integral part of the organization.

Concern from consumers has arisen in regard to the holidays, when there is only a skeleton crew of employees who remain at an organization, as it will leave them more vulnerable to cyber attacks and threats.  According to a recent survey by TNS, 59 percent of consumers have some fear in regard to this vulnerability.  The survey was done upon 2,006 individuals in the United Kingdom, ranging in age from 16-64.

The concerns were broken down into different categories.  These were:

● Money being stolen from their bank account – 36%
● Retail systems failing, inhibiting last minute shopping, or any returns – 17%
● Failed travel services causing delays or cancellations – 16%
● Trouble using, connecting or logging into electronic devices (game consoles, tablets, phones, etc.) – 16%

These are all absolutely legitimate concerns.  As stated previously, when almost everyone is away for the holidays is when the organization is left at its most vulnerable cyber security point.  When there is only a select few individuals continuing to monitor and protect the company’s assets, data, and network, it can leave room for exploits to be overlooked.  Not only could a breach possibly be completely overlooked, but there is also the potential that the attack is noticed, but they are equipped with too small of a team to do anything about it.  Immediate reaction to a cyber attack is important to mitigating and handling it.  A discovered cyber attack may take days to address with a small team, and disclosing it to their consumers could take even longer.  Public relations with regard to a cyber attack is a critical part of it.

A Cyber Attack’s Damage to the Organization

The occurrence of a cyber attack can have a range of consequences upon the organization.  Obviously, there is the initial damage or theft from the cyber attack, but this not the only possible detriment.  Consumers trust can be completed destroyed by a breach to security.  Whether it be stolen money, personal information, or other assets, these can all cost a customer’s trust.  Though, there is a main way of mitigating damage and maintaining consumers trust if there is a breach, and that is through the disclosure of the breach.  In fact, only 4 percent of the people surveyed by TNS said they would stay with a company unconditionally if there was a cyber attack that they were uninformed of.  Consumers can be quite unforgiving when it comes to having their data, or finances breached and not having it disclosed to them.

The ability to trust an organization with money or data is very important to a consumer; therefore, organizations must work to consistently maintain that trust.  If an organization does not quickly inform their customers of any breach or attack, they may quickly find themselves losing customers to other organizations that consumers feel they can trust.  Being that consumers are already concerned with this lack of security during the holidays, it is important for organizations to make sure their security is firmly in place so that they can protect their customers’ data or money.  The lack of staff during the holidays is no excuse for a breach to many consumers, so this is a time that organizations must maintain an even more vigilant eye upon their cyber security.

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