E-commerce has become the pillar of many economies globally, and if you look at the current situation, you’ll notice that even smaller, local companies have turned to online sales in order to stay afloat, or perhaps even thrive. The idea that people leave some of their most sensitive information, including their names, addresses, and credit card information with different sellers has become so commonplace that most people rarely dwell on the fact. As online commerce becomes so pivotal, more companies are rushing to sell online, but not all of them perhaps invest the same interest in ensuring the needed security.
Therein lies the rub: all it takes is a single missing update in your security system, or a poorly structured checkout page, and you risk endangering your entire operation. It’s not about losing that one customer over a security leak. It’s about genuinely changing how people see you when they realize that they cannot buy from you safely anymore. Especially now that competition is getting fiercer every day, each brand needs to preserve and grow its reputation to retain its customers. You cannot afford to make security slip ups at all, as your brand reputation will suffer in several key ways.
Sensitive data theft
The layers of security you’ve implemented serve multiple purposes, but one key issue they are trying to prevent is data theft. Sensitive information you store, not just about your customers and their financial information, but your own, that of your employees, your partners, and the like – it’s all at risk of being used in various nefarious manners. It’s enough to suffer a single data breach and lose the credit card details of your customers, and you can rest assured nobody will be willing to keep shopping with your brand.
You need to make sure that your selling platform is always up to date, and that your IT department keeps all of your firewalls up and running at all times. Rigorous testing of every segment of your security protocol is another surefire way to keep your data under digital lock and key. Since such cyberattacks are especially common among smaller businesses due to their generally weaker network security, these preventative measures can mean all the difference for your future.
The long-term financial cost
Brands often consider each investment largely based on the funds needed for each of them. Alas, these forecasts typically fail to encompass one vital component: the potential financial damage that would befall your business should you fail to invest in certain areas of development, security included. When you do a bit of math with that perspective in mind, you begin to understand the financial loss at stake.
While billions of dollars are at stake, many small businesses can actually prevent such issues by investing a few hundred or thousand over the course of a single year to strengthen their security measures.
Your brand perception
As if being financially ravaged and losing business data weren’t enough, your brand image can suffer another dire consequence due to any form of cybersecurity issue: complete loss of trust, inside and out. That means that both your employees and your customers are bound to change their perception of your business once you let their sensitive data get stolen, or you don’t provide a secure business network to begin with for your staff.
In response to growing cybersecurity threats, many companies have turned to expert private cloud providers who create safe and secure environments for data storage, internal communication, and other pivotal business operations. Migrating to the cloud with built-in security measures, impeccable protection, and ensured compliance is a decision most companies make precisely to increase the security of all of their operations. As a result, you can keep your brand reputation safe and your customers and employees happy.
Partnerships down the drain
The reputation of your business certainly impacts your customers and how many people want to work with you as employees. However, you will also need to consider how a cybersecurity issue will impact your reputation in the eyes of your business partners, vendors, suppliers, shipping companies, manufacturers, you name it.
Each and every vendor working with you will question their decision to continue that collaboration if you allow your data to be stolen, or if malware compromises your e-commerce operation in any way. Investing in optimal measures to increase the security of each transaction and all of your communication channels is vital for your partnerships, too. The bottom line is, you cannot expect your business partners to see you in the same way should you jeopardize their own businesses, too.
Ultimately, you might be far away from your beginnings and perhaps you feel that you’re standing on your own two feet as a company, but if you are among the many, many companies that have started out thanks to investors, then you should think of their own perception of your brand image. Why? Because even though their investments might have paid off in the meantime, should you lose your business and go back to investors for financial help for your next venture, you can rest assured that few, if any, will venture such a risk.
Your current reputation is the foundation of your future image, not just of your business, but you as a business leader. Investing in optimal security measures now means that you’re investing in all of your future endeavors, too, and increasing your chances to inspire investors to help you kick-start whatever venture you have in mind.
Although there are minor cybersecurity issues a brand can survive and recover from over time, most are not that simple to handle, especially not for a smaller business looking to make a name for itself. Today, cybersecurity is vital more than ever and it’s up to business leaders such as yourself to discover, continuously upgrade, and above all test your cybersecurity measures to stay ahead of the curve. Only then will you be able to build your image and ensure long-term success as well as customer trust and loyalty.