REPUTATION AND GOOGLE’S “BLACK LIST”
Regardless of the size of your business, a successful hack that results in information being lost and/or accessed will hurt.
It’s easy to think that it’ll never happen to you or that you’ll recover, but the possibility of real damage – short and long-term – to your business is real.
Let’s talk about that “it’ll never happen to me” mentality, because it’s dangerous. Target was breached through a mid-tier provider – hackers are turning to easier targets further down the chain from companies that have the resources to devote to top-level security. In a post last year, Everyone Is a Cyber Target – Small Size Is No Defense, I noted that 44% of SMBs had been the victim of an attack – it can happen to you.
Reputation Equals Real Money
You might think that you have a good reputation and that you’ll recover – and that could be true. However, there are real affects – Target’s sales declined by 46% in the 4th quarter of 2013 (compared to its 4Q2012) after its breach. Could you absorb that kind of revenue dip?
Google’s Bad Side
Consider these two statistics:
Nearly 7 out of 10 searches are done using Google
89% of B2B purchases begin online
As people rely on search engines to find everything – from cars to restaurants to what plumbing service to use – your website is a critical part of a sales and marketing strategy.
When people can’t find your website, they give their business to a competitor.
Hackers are installing malware on websites and hijacking those sites. Google is in the business of providing the best answer to a user’s search. They will blacklist (“quarantine” in their lingo) a site that they think is infected with malware to protect THEIR reputation. Being on the Google blacklist (which you can also get on for “black hat” SEO practices, like keyword stuffing Web pages) renders your website invisible to Google search. Read more details in this Search Engine Watch article.
If Breached, COMMUNICATE
If your network is breached, don’t hide. A Ponemon Institute report revealed that customers (unsurprisingly) wanted to know about the data breach. Consumers also shared what they wanted to know.
hose that had discontinued a relationship with a company were asked what the company could have done to keep them as a customer. While over half said “nothing” and 15% wanted a discount, the most effective way to keep a customer is to do something we all learned in Kindergarten, say “I’m sorry.” As the report puts it, 43% would have responded positively to a “sincere and personal apology.”
A “Happy” Note to End
Most consumers don’t abandon a business after a data breach – that’s the good news. Of course, that’s mostly because of resignation – 61% believe that a competitor is just as likely to be a target for hackers as their current provider.
Don’t force your customers to make that decision. Talk to us about your network and data security, we can help.