Cyber security for business

Impact of cyber attack on your business


A successful cyber attack can cause major damage to your business. It can affect your bottom line, as well as your business' standing and consumer trust. The impact of a security breach can be broadly divided into three categories: financial, reputational and legal.

Economic cost of cyber attack

Cyber attacks often result in a substantial financial loss arising from:

  • theft of corporate information
  • theft of financial information (eg bank details or payment card details)
  • theft of money
  • disruption to trading (eg inability to carry out transactions online)
  • loss of business or contract

In dealing with the breach, businesses will also generally incur costs associated with repairing affected systems, networks and devices.

Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023

The latest UK government survey showed that 32% of businesses and 24% of charities overall recall any breaches or attacks from the last 12 months. This is much higher for medium businesses (59%), large businesses (69%) and high-income charities with £500,000 or more in annual income (56%).

Among those identifying any breaches or attacks, the government estimates that the single most disruptive breach from the last 12 months cost each business, of any size, an average of approximately £1,100. For medium and large businesses, this was approximately £4,960. For charities, it was approximately £530.

Reputational damage

Trust is an essential element of a customer relationship. Cyber attacks can damage your business' reputation and erode the trust your customers have for you. This, in turn, could potentially lead to:

  • loss of customers
  • loss of sales
  • reduction in profits

The effect of reputational damage can even impact on your suppliers, or affect relationships you may have with partners, investors and other third parties vested in your business.

Legal consequences of a cyber breach

Data protection and privacy laws require you to manage the security of all personal data you hold - whether on your staff or your customers. If this data is accidentally or deliberately compromised, and you have failed to deploy appropriate security measures, you may face fines and regulatory sanctions.

How to minimise the impact of cyber attacks on businesses

Security breaches can devastate even the most resilient of businesses. It is extremely important to manage the risks accordingly.

You can use the National Cyber Security Centre's (NCSC) free Check your cyber security service to perform a range of simple online checks to identify common vulnerabilities in your public-facing IT.

The NCSC also offer a free Cyber Action Plan. By answering a few simple questions, you can get a free personalised action plan that lists what you or your organisation can do right now to protect against cyber attack.

After an attack happens, an effective cyber security incident response plan can help you:

  • reduce the impact of the attack
  • report the incident to the relevant authority - see how to report a cyber crime
  • clean up the affected systems
  • get your business up and running in the shortest time possible

It can help to invest in user training, education and awareness in your organisation on an ongoing basis.