The recent cyber-attacks on the telecommunications provider TalkTalk Group have shown both how easy it is for even a major company to have its website hacked and how the effects can be devastating for the company concerned.
One might have thought that a company like TalkTalk that provides internet security as part of its range of services to millions of clients and customers, would have known how to keep its business safe online. Yet reports suggest it was embarrassingly easy for intruders to gain access to customers’ confidential details. In addition, whether or not this results in further criminal behaviour the damage to TalkTalk’s reputation has already been done. In terms of loss of business the financial losses suffered by the company will doubtless be significant.
Attack every four seconds
No company, large or small, can afford to be blasé where cyber-crime is concerned. This year the Office of National Statistics published figures suggesting that a criminal act covered by the Computer Misuse Act is committed every four seconds in the UK. This includes hacking, virus infection and fraud. There were 2.5 million incidents of computer crime reported and it should be borne in mind that many failed crimes and attacks where no serious damage is done are often not reported to the police, so the actual figure is likely to be even higher.
Loss of trust
As well as the very real risk of money being directly stolen from your company, the financial losses as a result of damage to a company’s reputation can be severe. If clients and customers do not feel that a company can be trusted with their personal and financial details then they are simply not going to do business with them. Unfortunately this is also often the case if you inadvertently pass on computer viruses via emails, documents or shared software.
All companies need to have the most robust cyber defences possible and these need to be regularly checked and updated. All members of staff should be educated in safe protocol where computer use and online activity is involved. Any suspicious activity should of course be immediately reported to your computer security expert. If attackers are still successful a comprehensive cyber insurance policy is vital to help cover the impacts that fraud, phishing, hacking or a devastating computer virus can have upon a company.
To speak to one of our advisers about your company’s cyber risks contact us on 01603 218000.