The cost of cybercrime: Is cybersecurity worth it?

Cost of cybercrime

If you’re wondering ‘Is cybersecurity really worth it?’ The short answer to this question is unequivocally, ‘Yes!’. Especially now that the economic climate is taking a downturn. In this cost-of-living crisis, the threat to your business from rising cybercrime rates could be even higher. But let’s see why cybersecurity is worth spending some money on compared to the cost of cybercrime.

False economy

Rising costs for just about everything means businesses have to make cutbacks. The trick to riding out the storm is recognising what’s an essential and what’s a luxury to cut. Cybersecurity falls into the ‘essential’ category. 

Cybersecurity should be thought of as an investment, not an expense. It protects you from the much greater costs of cybercrime. For example, business disruption and financial losses. In fact, all you can do to protect yourself in preparation for a possible attack will save you money in future. Cutting back on such a necessity would only be a false economy.

If you run a small business, you could be forgiven for thinking that cybersecurity isn’t worth it. You may conclude that your business isn’t at risk if you’ve seen the media coverage of cyberattacks on large corporations. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. No business is too large or too small to be subjected to cybercrime. Research suggests that 43% of all data breaches involve small businesses. In fact, smaller businesses can be an attractive target as they may be less likely to have the necessary cybersecurity to keep their data safe.

Strong cybersecurity is always worth it. Beyond the immediate financial cost of cybercrime, which can be high, the damage to your business’s reputation if confidential data is exposed can be long-lasting. This may affect your ability to do business in future, especially if you’re in a sector that handles highly sensitive data, such as financial services and healthcare. Potential customers will think twice before handing over personal and financial details if they doubt that they’ll be protected.

The true cost of cybercrime to a business can be complex and far-reaching and may include:

  • Significant monetary theft
  • Substantial business downtime
  • Damage to your business’s reputation
  • An increase in your insurance premiums
  • Loss of intellectual property
  • Network repairs
  • Public relation costs
  • Compliance fines

Confused about Cyber Insurance? Check out our new guide for everything you need to know.

A good return on investment

Good cybersecurity delivers a good return on investment (ROI) by preventing or mitigating the impact of an attack. According to the UK Government’s Cyber Security Cyber Breaches Survey 2022, in the last 12 months, 39% of UK businesses identified a cyberattack. And, in the case of those organisations that reported a material outcome, such as loss of money or data, there was an average estimated cost of £4,200. However, where only medium and large businesses were considered, this figure rose to £19,400. Far worse, according to a study by TrendMicro, 60% of small businesses close within six months of a cyberattack. 

What’s more, another survey found that 83% of small and medium-sized businesses aren’t financially prepared to recover from a cyberattack. Indeed, a report by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) revealed that 85% of surveyed small and medium-sized enterprises agreed that cybersecurity issues would seriously affect their businesses, and 57% admitted they would most likely go out of business.

Even if your company survives such an attack, the cost of cybercrime can be devastating. A study by Cisco found that 40% of small businesses that are hit by a severe cyberattack experienced at least eight hours of downtime, accounting for a large part of the overall cost of a security breach. 

So, a relatively small investment in cybersecurity today gives you a good ROI by saving you money in the long run.

The rising rate of cybercrime

The chances of being the victim of cybercrime are also growing fast, so the time is right to get your house in order and protect your business with reliable cybersecurity. 

Rates of cybercrime have been increasing for years, with a rapid rise in remote and hybrid working heightening companies’ vulnerability to attack. But over the last year, attacks have spiked. For example, the percentage of users impacted by targeted ransomware doubled in the first 10 months of 2022. And, according to the 2022 State of Phishing report from SlashNext, phishing attacks have also increased by 61% in 2022.

Experts warn that with the cost-of-living crisis, we should expect cybercrime to escalate even more and cyberattacks to increase in sophistication. Unfortunately, there is a correlation between tough economic times and a rise in cyberattacks. More people may be tempted to turn to cybercrime, and there could be an increase in social engineering attacks specifically designed to exploit the financial hardship of recipients, manipulating vulnerable victims into handing over valuable data.

So, now is not the time to cut back on cybersecurity, as the cost of cybercrime means it’s just not worth taking the risk.

Good cybersecurity needn’t be daunting

This may all sound worrying, but it really is easy to protect your business, and this doesn’t have to cost the earth. As the UK Government’s Small Business Guide: Cyber Security says: ‘Cyber security needn’t be a daunting challenge for small business owners’. 

However, many enterprises still need to protect themselves sufficiently. According to a report from Kaspersky, as many as a quarter of UK companies admit to underfunding cybersecurity, even though 82% have suffered cyberattacks. Another study also found that one-third of companies with 50 or fewer employees were using free, consumer-grade cybersecurity, leaving themselves more vulnerable to attacks.

A big reason for this could be that protecting your business on a budget can be tricky – employing experts or investing in the latest tools can be costly. However, reliable cybersecurity does not have to be prohibitively expensive or complicated. CyberSmart Active Protect provides robust protection with no need for pricey tools, consultants, or an in-house team. It’s a cost-effective and easy way to secure all employee devices that touch your company data. Simply send a downloadable link to your staff and Active Protect will do the rest, checking 24/7 for the most common cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

So, when you consider the cost of cybercrime and the rising number of attacks, cybersecurity is undoubtedly worth it.

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