Malware (malicious software) is a blanket term for any software that infects all or part of a computer or network. It disrupts IT and computer processes. A developer may use malware to steal your company’s data or hold it for ransom. In worst case scenarios, a hacker can use malware to access your customers’ private information or credit cards.

Computer SecurityHackers are so adept at infiltrating a network that they are now learning how to bypass firewalls, antivirus software, and even virtual private networks (VPN). As a result, businesses must now turn to outsourced IT companies in Pittsburgh who can utilize multilayer tactics, 24/7 monitoring, and penetration testing to keep the network safe.

How Can Malware Affect Your Business?

Malware used to be nothing more than an annoyance. But times have changed. Those little annoyances have now turned into disasters for business owners throughout the Pittsburgh area and the U.S. According to IBM’s 2018 Ponemon Institute study, close to 60% of small businesses in the U.S. have been hit with some type of cyber attack. Almost half of those businesses shut their doors within six months.

The other half that does manage to stay afloat still suffer in the following ways:

Business Disruption

Malware comes in all forms and can impact business continuity on multiple levels. It can bring day-to-day operations to a screeching halt, hijack private data, and cause massive damage to your business reputation. Malware can take complete control of your computer. It can alter or delete sensitive data, and even reformat your entire hard drive, complete erasing every file. It can also lock up your computer. In essence, it can disarm your entire company and kill your workflow.

Financial Losses

These days, companies now carry cyber insurance to cover the economic fallout of a cyber attack. How serious can it get? Hiscox reported that the average cost of a cyber attack to a small business per incident was just over $34,000. Enterprises lose over $1 million per occurrence. Business disruption, lost data, lost customers, lawsuits (or insurance claims), and network restoration costs account for most of the damages. What’s worse is that few hackers are ever caught.

Loss of Customer Data or Privacy

While closing your business and employees losing their jobs is bad enough, those who suffer the most from a cyber attack are your customers – in some cases, hundreds or thousands of them. Starting in August 2018, Toyota was hit with a series of worldwide data breaches that lasted for six months. The data breach exposed the personal information of over 3.1 million customers.

Keep in mind, most cyber attacks involve hijacking customer data. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that hackers are not looking for your company’s internal data. Instead, they are looking for your customers’ data. They want names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card information, social security numbers, and driver’s licenses.

Loss of Reputation

It’s simple:

If your customers cannot trust you with their personal information, they will not purchase your products or services.

To go one step further, your customers will tell everyone not to come near you, and they will post what happened on all their social media accounts. They will also give you poor reviews on review/rating sites. They may even file a claim or lawsuit against you to recover their damages.

But it doesn’t end there. The local or national news may report the data breach, and you may lose the respect of your peers in your industry. Yes, it is that bad. In fact, loss of reputation may be the single greatest contributing factor to your business shutting down after a cyber attack. After all, you can’t run a business without customers.

Contact Right Hand

The importance of finding a reputable IT company cannot be overstated. If you are a small business owner, and you need protection from malware such as ransomware, viruses, phishing, trojans, or spyware, then contact Right Hand today. We offer cybersecurity services and IT support. To find out more about our services, call us today at (412) 254-4448.