If you experience a company-wide virus, how will this impact your profits?
Technology is the backbone of most companies, with the Internet being the key to a successful business plan and operation. From the most basic Internet functions, like e-mailing, social media marketing, and keeping your Web site updated, to more advanced uses, like VoIP telephony, ensuring that your company’s Internet functions are running is vital to your company’s progress and profits.
Try to imagine - what might happen if you experienced a company-wide virus? For a company of any size, this can be devastating to your profits and business operations. It is particularly devastating for a small business with fewer than 50 employees; each person plays a vital, instrumental role, as they are often the only one in the company that can perform the duties of their specific position.
Virus or Malware - and Does it Matter?
While both viruses and malware are extremely harmful to your business and computer infrastructure, they aren’t the same. Viruses are primarily used to cause problems, and nothing else. Malware, on the other hand, is a broader category that can include viruses, as well as ad and spyware, trojan horses, worms, and many other damaging forms. Malware’s primary focus is to either spy on the computer user’s tendencies, force payments by holding files hostage, or any other number of tasks that can destroy or wreak havoc on your computer — and your company’s profits.
Consider the 2013 data breach Target experienced. The company spent more than $148 million to recover the credit card and personal information that was stolen from an estimated 12 million customers. That alone was a tremendous expense, with the company offering one year of free credit screening to customers who thought they might have been affected; some analysts projected Target would spend more than $1 billion over time.
Within the first year, though, Target saw their stock prices drop from a projected 85 cents to $1 per share, down to 78 cents - an indicator of a damaged reputation. Customers were shopping less at Target in the year following the incident, presumably exercising more caution as a result of the stolen data.
Recovering your data might be the easy part — restoring your reputation, on the other hand, can be a long battle requiring diligence, patience, and perseverance. Target spent millions as a result of the December 2013 incident, and lost far more due to customer distrust and worry surrounding the safety of personal information. Smaller companies may find the cost to clean up a data breach incident to be far greater than anticipated.
Viruses like the 2003 Klez virus were estimated to cost millions by usurping the victim’s e-mail address and randomly selecting a document to e-mail to the user’s e-mail list. Not only did the users lose their privacy and security, but they also found their private files or photos circulating the Internet. Many also lost time at work and the ability to correspond, as the virus would jam networks through the mass-emailing.
When your Internet is down, you have a hard time reaching your customers. Another 2003 virus, SQL Slammer/Sapphire, randomly selected IP addresses to infect; the number of infected servers doubled every 8.5 seconds. Not only did the virus affect a variety of government services, include three separate US government Web sites and Seattle’s 911 service, but it severely impacted several companies’ ability to operate. Bank of America’s ATM service crashed, Continental Airlines’ online ticketing and electronic kiosks were inoperable, three separate newspapers experienced printing problems, and nearly the entire country of South Korea lost Internet and phone access. It caused $1 billion in widespread damages. These are larger companies, but imagine if your small company lost a main component of its profit-stream. These large companies had to find a way to clean up and operate after being infected — at great expense.
If you experience a company-wide virus, finding a way to mitigate the damage while remaining operable can be tricky. An infected computer can be down hours or even weeks as you work to get your systems operating again. In-house IT departments can also be rendered useless, as a company-wide virus would also affect their ability to work.
Altogether, computer viruses cost businesses $55 billion each year in lost profits, work, and time. Keep your company protected in any situation with an outsourced IT department, like IT Proactive. Working with a team outside of your company will eliminate the possibility of your IT department going down due to an internal virus. You’ll benefit from a faster response time so your company can be up and running as quickly as possible, so you can focus on your business’s continued growth. Contact us today to put together your protection and care package.