The Problems Data Breaches Pose for Small Businesses

The Problems Data Breaches Pose for Small Businesses

These days, many small business owners are trying to better protect themselves from any external threats that could compromise their financial safety, but one of the most common remaining problems is data breaches.

Two-thirds of professionals who specialize in privacy and IT say that their companies have either already suffered data breaches or expect to, and these incidents usually result in a loss of customers, business partners, or both, according to a new study from Experian Data Breach Resolution and the Ponemon Institute, titled “Is Your Company Ready for a Big Data Breach?” Moreover, three-quarters say that such an incident either would or already has resulted in their companies suffering a data breach.

“A majority of companies we surveyed indicate they have already or are very likely to lose customers and business partners, receive negative publicity and face serious financial consequences due to a data breach,” said Michael Bruemmer, vice president at Experian Data Breach Resolution. “Yet, despite understanding the consequences, many companies struggle to take the right steps to mitigate the fallout following an incident, demonstrating a need for better awareness and investment in the tools that can alleviate negative customer perceptions.”

For instance, nearly four in 10 companies surveyed said they do not have a formal plan in place for how to deal with a data breach when or if one occurs, and only 10 percent have tech insurance that helps to protect them from such an incident financially, the report said. And when they do occur, most companies are not equipped to begin notifying victims and dealing with the fallout, as slightly more than two in 10 say they have communications teams trained to assist those affected by breaches, and 65 percent say they do not have mechanisms that help them identify when such contact has been made.

Companies also generally lack the ability to evaluate either the size or damage caused by a data breach, with just 36 percent saying they felt they had such capabilities, the report said. Just one-quarter felt they could determine the root cause of such exposure and properly contain it.

Many small businesses may be considering the ways in which they can protect themselves from such incidents, and a comprehensive plan should include tech insurance, which helps to reduce the cost to companies of dealing with these issues.