Electronic data and physical paperwork can be a liability for businesses. In 2021,there were approximately 4,145 publicly disclosed breaches and22 billion exposed records. Furthermore, 64% of companies have reported some form of cybercrime — these numbers are in addition to unreported cases.
Many people will assume that once paperwork and devices that hold data (like computers, USBs, and tablets) are thrown in the garbage, the potential for a data breach is nullified. This, unfortunately, is not the case.
In the case of paperwork, criminals could look through waste units for company and employee information. Confidential company strategies could even end up in the hands of a rival business.
For technical devices, cyber-savvy criminals can still access memory on obsolete tech, gaining immediate access to your private files.
Since a data breach can affect your company for the long haul, the secure document and data destruction of files and papers is key — even after they’re no longer relevant. Here’s why.
Employee happiness and their consequential retention are key to the success of any business. A data breach could leave individual employees open to identity theft, leading to a lapse in employee trust and loyalty. Additionally, regrouping after a breach is stressful and overwhelming — not an ideal combination for both current employee retention and the company’s ability to hire top talent in the future.
Client and Customer Discontent
If a company experiences a data breach where private customer and client data is disclosed, it might lose clients and customers en masse —this is clearly detrimental to any business, both in terms of team morale and lost revenue.
Further, if a data breach is covered by the press, this means a loss of future revenue, as potential clients and customers will have a good reason to look elsewhere.
Damaged Brand Reputation
The internet never forgets — at least, not for some time. It’s always a long-term challenge to combat a slew of negative reviews, press releases and news articles.
For small businesses, this is especially challenging. With no focused PR team to mitigate poor feedback from the press or to strategize communication tactics in response to social media comments and phone calls, the challenge may even be impassable.
A company will need access to money to bypass a security breach — and money that was most likely not budgeted for. While some expenses may be covered by insurance, it’s unlikely that the full amount will be taken care of. Some unanticipated expenses may include:
- Hiring a PR team member(s) to mitigate negative feedback.
- Recruiting a tech specialist to help overcome the initial hurdle and to set the company up for the future, so a breach isn’t experienced again.
- Hiring a legal team to help mitigate any lawsuits that may arise and to manage any international compliance violations (if the company operates on a global scale).
- Funding for new marketing campaigns to entice new customers and retain current clients.
- Ransom fees for large companies in instances of a ransomware attack.
A data breach can bring a large business to its knees and may even see a small business cease to exist. In fact, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, approximately 60% of small to medium-sized businesses shut down their operations within six months of a breach or cyberattack.
By doing due diligence in the effective destruction of company papers and its obsolete technology, a company is removing one avenue that thieves may take to access private data for criminal uses.