December 12, 2023

Security breaches are costly but it's not only about the money

Cyber crime is an ever-growing threat to South African businesses. Security breaches have far-reaching consequences that go far beyond financial losses, which harms companies in profound ways. According to IBM Security, the average cost of a data breach in South Africa is R49.5 million, which is an 8% increase from 2022 and a 73% increase from 2015.

This detailed report highlights that the average cost per lost record or file is R2750. However, security breaches are not only about the financial implications. There are other negative consequences that business leaders need to consider, such as loss of productivity, reputational damage, legal fees and psychological effects.

Enterprises need to take a look at their cyber security protocols and tools and ensure that they are up-to-date and able to mitigate modern attacks. Failure to do so could result in massive losses, both economic and in other areas of business.

The economic costs of security breaches

Companies might suffer direct and immediate financial losses as a result of security breaches. The costs incurred include financial theft, if hackers gain access to bank account details, as well as the loss of sensitive financial information. These could result in financial losses that may cripple a company's operations.

In addition, regulatory penalties can be severe in extreme cases. Failure to comply with data protection and privacy standards may result in substantial fines, especially when it comes to the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act. Companies may need to pay out affected customers and suppliers, which can severely impact cash flow.

However, there are also two financial costs that companies do not consider. During a cyber attack, resources and employees are pulled away from their daily tasks to deal with the crisis. Hiring experts to contain the situation and deal with the aftermath can be expensive. Secondly, the post-attack rebuild of IT systems should not be overlooked. This can vary depending on the severity of the damage caused.

Beyond monetary losses

The non-financial implications of security breaches can be equally severe. To begin, the psychological impact that it has on breach victims, both individuals and corporations, can be high. It creates unnecessary stress, anxiety, and a loss of faith in technology. The emotional toll can have a substantial impact on productivity and morale.

Customers and suppliers can also lose trust in companies that fail to protect their data. Customer loyalty might suffer as a result of reputational damage, affecting revenue and long-term commercial ties. Similarly, dealing with irate customers can have a huge impact on employee morale and the business as a whole.

Lastly, the legal ramifications of security breaches, including lawsuits, can add to the financial strain. Legal battles can be lengthy processes that sap a lot of resources. They tend to take attention away from core business operations, which lowers productivity and profitability.

The importance of proactive cyber security measures

In an era where cyber attacks are continually evolving, it is critical to invest in strong cyber security measures. SEACOM plays a critical role in offering comprehensive security solutions that are tailored to the specific demands of South African enterprises. Consider the following methods to improve your company’s security posture:

1) Regular security assessments - Continuously assess your company’s security protocols and software to determine if they are up to par. Create a security assessment spreadsheet to identify weaknesses and mitigate potential hazards before they are exploited by hackers.

2) Employee education and awareness - User awareness training can create a security-conscious workforce by educating staff on best practices for data protection and security regulations. Employees of all levels should undergo training sessions at least once a year.

3) Implement a multi-tiered security strategy - Work with an expert cyber security and ICT services provider to incorporate firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software and encryption technologies. Your IT system needs a multi-layered protection net, so working with a professional partner will ensure the best systems and features are installed.

Future trends and challenges

SEACOM strives to be at the forefront of cyber security for enterprises. We continually update defences to stay one step ahead of the threat actors. When considering the future trends and challenges, one of the first things that comes to mind is artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning is being used by cyber criminals to automate attacks.

The Internet of Things (IoT) also presents some flaws. As more devices become interconnected, the attack surface expands. This means that enterprises and companies with a heavy reliance on IoT need to have advanced security tools at their disposal. SEACOM offers cutting-edge network security solutions.

As the cyber landscape advances, South African enterprises must remain vigilant and knowledgeable about the evolving dangers. Security breaches have far-reaching repercussions that go beyond monetary losses. South African businesses must recognise the need of prioritising robust security measures.

SEACOM offers modern cyber security solutions that are suited to the demands of South African enterprises. For more information about our cyber security services or to get a quote, email us at marketing@seacom.com or leave us a message.


SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

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