What have Canadian businesses learned after spending $14B on cybersecurity?

Technology is growing at a rapid pace, and businesses have to keep up to keep themselves afloat. From large companies to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), more enterprises in Canada are embracing digital solutions. In fact, the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector contributed $74.7 billion to the 2017 gross domestic product (GDP), an increase of $2.43 billion from the previous year.

However, criminals are taking advantage of new business technologies to scam not just individuals, but also enterprises of their hard-earned money. According to a recent Statistics Canada survey, more than one in five Canadian companies were hit by a cyberattack in 2018.

Despite this alarming trend, only 10% of those affected reported it to authorities. Moreover, a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers report noted that 55% of their Canadian respondents admitted to falling victim to fraud or financial crime in the last two years. This is a rise of 18% compared to 2016.

To confront the growing risks in the digital world, Canadian businesses spent $14 billion on cybersecurity in 2017. But after spending a large amount of money for better security, what have Canadian businesses learned?

Small businesses aren’t safe from cybercrime

SMBs can be quite neglectful of their IT security, as they believe they are not the main targets of cybercriminals and are therefore safe from attacks. However, the opposite is true: more and more SMBs are victimized because of their complacency and lack of resources to mount sufficient defenses.

Falling victim to cybercrime makes you lose revenue due to downtime. According to a 2018 Scalar Security study, each SMB breached last year suffered an average of 59 cumulative downtime hours, equating to $1.1 million in lost revenue.

Preventing breaches from happening will always be your best option. If you can’t afford to have your own IT staff, you can outsource the work to a managed IT services provider (MSP) like Dyrand Systems.

An MSP is a team of highly skilled individuals that manages everything in your IT department remotely. It’s a cost-effective solution, as providers will only require you to pay a small monthly fee compared to paying a regular salary to an employee. MSPs can also monitor your network 24/7/365, so you will always have peace of mind about your company’s security.

Non-compliance to privacy regulations can be costly

Only 10% of Statistics Canada’s respondents that were affected by a cyberattack reported the issue to authorities. With the new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), however, they are now required to keep records of security breaches and report them to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

What’s more, enterprises are obliged to publicly disclose data breaches to their clients should personal information be involved. This is to help those involved make arrangements so that they can contain the damage wrought by the breach.

In case a person suffers significant harm because they were not informed of a privacy breach, they can file a case against the erring entity and bring it to a Federal Court. If found guilty, a single lawsuit can be powerful and costly enough to shut a company down. Even if it does make it out of the mess, there will be irreparable damage done to its reputation.

Security breaches affect consumer trust

In 2017, credit reporting company Equifax announced a data breach within the company. It was one of the largest cybersecurity incidents in history, with unauthorized data access occurring from mid-May through July 2017. Personally identifiable information accessed included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

While Equifax Canada’s chief privacy officer John Russo said that there was no evidence of fraudulent activity on the hacked Canadian accounts, it was too late for the firm. Equifax’s reputation took a hit after the leak of the confidential data, which affected almost 20,000 Canadians.

This is a good example of why your business needs to have good cybersecurity measures. Once your current and potential customers get wind of any breaches you’re involved in, they will be hesitant to do business with you, as doing so may endanger their information.

Canadians might have spent a huge amount, but this will bring about a good return on investment. Not only will it help businesses be better protected against the latest threats, it will also assure customers reliable services while keeping sensitive information out of cybercriminals’ sight. Cybersecurity is a continuously evolving endeavor, so it’s best to always be prepared when disaster comes.

Technology should be your friend, not your foe. Since 2001, Dyrand Systems has been making IT easier for our customers in Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby by delivering unrivaled services and support. Allow us to handle cybersecurity for your business. Talk with our experts today.