From Startups to Fortune 500s: Why Is Data Security So Important?
May 15, 2018
Whether you’re a startup, an SMB or a major corporation, data security should be top of mind.
Why? A single breach can be costly, and we’re not just talking about your bottom line
If you’re a startup operation, you might think of data security as something only the major corporations have to deal with. After all, you’re in your infancy stages of operation, so how much data could you possibly have to safeguard, and why is it so vital that you take steps to do so? Though this is the mindset adopted by many business leaders across myriad industries, the reality is that data security is a chief concern for all executives, from fledgling small businesses to well-established Fortune 500 companies.
Regardless of your size, your business is still centered on providing some sort of product or service to your customers, and most likely uses electronic systems to facilitate this process in some capacity. Here are three reasons why, as a business leader, you can’t afford to not keep an eye on how that data is captured, used, and maintained.
1. Your data is an asset
Take a look around your office. When asked to name your assets, you might count your conference room table, your computers, and your employees. Yet, did you know that data is also an asset? Any information that involves your business is under your ownership and what you do with it is important. Some industries, like healthcare and education, will process a vast amount of sensitive and confidential client information every day. Others might not do so with such frequency, but it’s still important to monitor that information intake.
Whether you use the data obtained by your company to boost revenue generation, develop closer client relationships, improve business processes or a score of opportunities, it’s important to realize that simply through its ability to generate long-term profit, that data is a business asset and should be protected as diligently and carefully as you would any other highly valuable item under your care. Similar to the security tags you find on clothes in a store, a data management system helps you label all information as yours, and enables you to allocate it correctly and safely to the departments that require access to it. That way, if an unauthorized person gains access to it, you’re immediately notified and can take quick action.
2. Your reputation depends on it
It turns out the old adage that a reputation takes years to build and only seconds to destroy actually holds true, especially in the business world. It only takes one data breach for your carefully curated reputation as best in your class to become immediately tarnished. Consider some of the most monumental breaches we’ve seen this century, and how they’ve affected both reputation and business for those companies. From Yahoo to eBay, even the big companies aren’t immune, and while those are the stories that tend to make the news, keep in mind that for every report about a major corporation experiencing a breach, there are dozens of smaller companies experiencing the same thing.
Your clients utilize your business and trust that you’ll protect their sensitive and personal information. Most of the time, a breach will be the result of malintent, as 52% of all such attacks are done by criminals while human error and system malfunctions account for only 24%. Even if the breach was the result of an outsider hacking, it will still be your name and brand on the line, so there’s no time like the present to start taking better control of the data at your disposal.
3. A breach is costly
According to research, the average cost incurred by a company that experiences a data breach is $3.62 million. Chances are, your startup doesn’t have those kinds of funds just lying around and if you did, you wouldn’t want to spend them cleaning up a security nightmare. Two of the main reasons that companies rack up such an enormous expense is that they’re either non-compliant with regulatory safety procedures or spend an exorbitant amount in their rush to notify affected consumers. Regardless of what the money is going toward, it only makes sense to invest in a data security system, as it’s a one-time expense versus an overwhelming bill you’ll not equipped to pay back.
Keeping Your Data, Reputation and Future Safe
At the end of the day, data security is a must-have for both startups and major corporations alike. If you’re intaking any client information at all, you have access to data that shouldn’t leave your ownership. To make sure it stays under your jurisdiction, it’s important to create a data security plan and procedure immediately as if the future of your business depended on it, because it does.
Courtney Myers is a professional writer and tech enthusiast with more than 10 years in the digital marketing industry. From content creation to startup support, she’s helped dozens of companies find their voice and footing.