When it comes to calculating the true cost of what the impacts of a Cyberattack really are, there are a lot of variables that need to be examined.  Some of these include:

*The direct costs to equipment:

 Examples of this would include any physical damages caused to servers, workstations, wireless devices, software applications. 

*Any costs associated with downtime

This would be the costs that would be associated in how long it takes a business or a corporation to resume baseline processes and activities.  Note that this is not the actual 100% recovery, but rather, how long it takes the organization to resume mission critical processes in order to at least serve its customers to the best degree possible, while full recovery is still underway.

*The costs associated with Incident Response

This metric reflects how quickly the Incident Response team can react to the Cyberattack or the Security Breach, and mitigate it completely.

*The costs of forensics investigations

After the Cyberattack has been mitigated, and the organization has been restored to a certain baseline level, the next step is to conduct an exhaustive examination to see what exactly has happened, and how it can be avoided in the future.  This involves the detailed of work of law enforcement at all levels, most notably that of the Forensics Investigator, and the Cybersecurity firm that you have engaged in order to examine what happened.  There is obviously a cost to this, and it can be expensive, depending on how thorough and exhaustive the actual investigation is.

*The costs of procuring any new hardware and software applications

If the Cyberattack has indeed caused extensive damage to your systems, then obviously you will need to replace them ASAP, or perhaps even migrate to a Cloud based IT Infrastructure. 

*The costs any negative media and lost customers

If you are hit with a Cyberattack, hopefully this will never be the case, but most of the time it is.  It’s usually the much larger businesses and corporations that get a “bad rap” in the media, and of course, once your customers hear about this, there is a good chance that they could leave you and go with your competition.  Then of course is the cost of having to get new customers to replace the ones that you have lost.

*The costs of revamping your Security Policies, Incident Response and Disaster Recovery Plans, and employee training:

Once your investigations have been completed, you have discovered what exactly happened and how to mitigate it, and are up to running at 100% capacity, the nest step is to take a look at all of your policies and plans, and see how effectively they worked in this real word situation that you have just experienced.  Obviously, in order to make the most of this, you will have to engage with a Cybersecurity consulting firm to tweak and improve those areas that have failed, and of course, there will be a cost associated with this as well.  Then you need to retrain your employees and staff so that they will be much more proactive and alert of any suspicious anomalies, behaviors, warnings, etc.

Taking all of the above-mentioned variables into account, the Cybersecurity firm known as “Radware” just released their latest report on what the true cost of a Cyberattack is.  It is called the “Radware’s 2018-2019 Global Application & Network Security Report”, and it can be downloaded at this link:

https://www.radware.com/ert-report-2018/

In it, they discovered that just one Cyberattack can cost a business or a corporation a staggering $1.6 Million.  Here are other key findings from their report:

*54% of the respondents claimed that operational/productivity loss is the biggest cost;

*43% of the respondents claimed that negative customer experience was the second biggest loss;

*45% of the respondents said that the goal of their Cyberattacker was to cause a major service disruption;

*35% of the respondents said that the goal of their Cyberattacker was the theft of confidential information and data.

Other disturbing revelations from this study include the following:

*21% of the respondents reported that they are the victim of daily Cyberattacks, which is a significant increase of 13% from 2018;

*78% of respondents that were impacted by a Cyberattack experienced some sort of serious service degradation or even a complete outage, when compared to 2018, when only 68% of the respondents reported the same impacts.  This only proves my point that the Cyberattacker is becoming much more effective, in that they are taking their own time now to research their targets and finding the most covert of ways in which to penetrate them.

*34% of respondents do not even have a Cybersecurity Incident Response/Disaster Recovery plan in place;

*35% of the respondents have been a victim of a Data Leakage breach;

*The attack vectors have become stealthier; for instance, respondents have claimed that the use HTTPS Floods grew from 28% in 2018 to 34% to 2019; DNS Attacks have proliferated from 33% to 38% from 2018-2019; Burst Attacks have grown from 42% to 49% (from 2018-2019); and Bot Net style Attacks have grown from 69% in 2018 to 76% in 2019;

*Over 60% of the respondents have experienced sort of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack; 

*34% of the respondents predict that front end Application Vulnerabilities will be a major attack surface in 2019.

Interestingly enough, there was no mention of the respondents trying to improve existing processes in place in order beef up their lines of defenses.  Rather, they are looking for newer methods:

*86% of the respondents are further exploring the use of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions.  The belief here is that by using these newer technologies, the response time to mitigate a Cyberattack will be much quicker, at least that is 48% of the respondents believe thus far.

My thoughts on this?

As one can see now, the costs of experiencing and recovering from a Cyberattack can be quite prohibitive, especially for the small to medium sized business.  But really in the end, no matter how much one does, there is no guarantee that you will never be hit by a Cyberattack.  It can happen to anybody at any time.

The key is to always be proactive and be aware of the environment that your business or organization is in.  But there is also the indirect cost of having to be proactive 24 X 7 X 365, as it is summarized nicely by this quote:

“While threat actors only have to be successful once, organizations must be successful in their attack mitigation 100% of the time.”

(SOURCE:  https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/89734-average-cost-of-cyberattack-now-exceeds-1-million)

Finally, you should consider seriously of getting Cybersecurity Insurance for your organization.  Yes, there will be a cost with the monthly premiums, but at least you the money you get back in the claim will help to defray the costs of a Cyberattack.  Otherwise, you will have to dig deeper into your corporate coffers, which will set you back even further.