How does protecting your network security affect your brand? At first glance, the two may appear to have nothing to do with each other. However, upon closer inspection, there is a strong connection between warding off a new threat and staying in business. The National Cyber Security Alliance has estimated that about 20% of small businesses face a cyber attack and that about 60% of them go out of business within less than a year.
While, of course, all businesses face cyber-security threats and the press religiously covers sensational stories of mega companies that lost millions, scammers and hackers prefer to target smaller companies because these are the low hanging fruit. Large companies spend a fortune on creating the best security systems while small companies tend to neglect having adequate network security.
A consultant, for example, might not even think of researching the benefits of encrypting business information on his or her laptop from providers like SecureUSB.com. But if their laptop is later lost or stolen after a client meeting, the client is now vulnerable to all sorts of threats, ranging from identity theft to someone getting website passwords.
Branding and Security
It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to build a brand. Ultimately, once you’ve established your brand, consumers know, like, and trust you. However, this trust can disappear overnight after a data breach and the news gets out that you didn’t do enough to protect their private and sensitive information. Your brand can be destroyed if customers sue your business for negligence over securing their private information.
Sometimes, however, you don’t even need to face a security threat or get sued to weaken your brand. You could immediately lose credibility once customers find out that you have few security measures in place.
What is Network Security?
This type of security is any action that you can take to protect your computers, devices, or network. This security protects data from falling into the wrong hands, where it can then be used to financially harm individuals and companies. Through the use of hardware and software, digital security can stop a wide number of cyber threats from either affecting hard drives or spreading through a network.
Security solutions often consist of multiple layers of protection. The basic idea is that if one level of security is breached by malware, there is another level behind it as protection. It’s rather like a castle with a moat, a drawbridge, archers using arrow slits, and a standing army waiting behind the castle walls. Often, too, many security features work in concert with each other, creating a synergistic defense grid.
Security systems include the use of encrypted flash drives for portable devices, firewalls, and anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Security might also include intrusion prevention systems as well as virtual private networks to securely log on to a network from a remote location.
Common Security Threats
A small business is threatened by a wide range of threats.
It must protect itself from threats like malware, viruses, and spyware. These can appear through email, after visiting an infected website, or after downloading an attachment or piece of software. This software is highly sophisticated. It may be able to scan for passwords, social security numbers, bank account information, or credit card numbers.
Not all threats are digital or automated. Professional scammers and hackers often look for ways to steal digital devices or break into networks. They are the cyber equivalent of con artists and burglars. Once they manage to break into a computer system, they can access your company’s critical company information as well as any customer information.
7 Ways Security Measures Impact Brand Building
Here are some ways taking excellent security measures can protect or build your brand:
- Your employees will be more productive and systems will be more efficient because there is no malware frustrating their work and slowing down their computer systems. Employees will also be able to work from anywhere with equal ease. As a result of this productivity and efficiency, your company will be able to perform better in the market.
- Your small business will be in compliance with government and industry security regulations.
- It will be much easier to scale up your business to meet the needs of the marketplace.
- You will win the trust of collaborators, business partners, and vendors because you can offer them secure access to your network.
- You will increase customer confidence and they will be able to trust you with their business information because it will be protected.
- Should you still fall victim to a data breach, you can provide an adequate legal defense that you did your best to avoid the issue. You won’t go bankrupt if your business is sued.
- Should a data breach happen, it will be much easier to prevent it from getting out of control and much easier to recover from it.
Personal Identity Theft
Small companies who aren’t dealing with much financial information may feel that they aren’t much of a target. However, while there have not been any major breaches like those that targeted Sony, Target, and the Office of Personnel Management, the Identity Theft Resource center has reported hundreds of smaller breaches that focus on personal records like W-2 forms and other documents that make it easy to steal personal identities.