In today’s world, an increasing number of transactions are executed online. To do so successfully, storing sensitive personal data such as credit card numbers is a necessity. It’s obvious to see why a colossal loss of trust follows the event of a data breach. However, this is not the only problem. Throw in the regulatory penalties as well, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster right there.

Without proper cybersecurity measures, you are just asking for trouble. Since cybersecurity attacks are on the rise, the only sensible action to take is to educate yourself on the dangers as well as the consequences of not taking the steps needed to protect your customers’ data. Hacking the websites and databases is catastrophic in and of itself, but if hackers get away with social media login credentials, credit card numbers, PINs, and social security numbers, the catastrophe can go beyond limits.

Small business owners are starting to take notice and if you’re still not convinced, have a look at the following 5 reasons why they’re stepping up their game:

1. Breaches are costly

And the costs are rising. The costs associated with these types of attacks can easily bring an entire business to its knees. To give you a concrete number, an average data breach can cost around 25-thousand US dollars. And these are only the averages – these things can go out of proportion before you know it. Apart from the financial damages, your business also takes another hit in the process – loss of customers’ trust. With a public image like that, such a company may struggle to acquire more customers in the future.

2. Portable devices are risky

The modern corporate world tends to the needs of individuals who prefer to work from home. Alternatively, companies are starting to allow them to bring their own devices to work and use them to handle the workload of the day. This may sound comfortable, but it is the kind of comfort that does not come without risks. If you store sensitive company data on these personal devices, it’s vulnerable to loss or theft. An employee may decide to use an unsecured public network to access the company’s servers, to name one example. If this is the case, company data can potentially get intercepted by an unauthorized third party. To prevent this from happening, business owners should require their employees to establish a secure connection through a VPN.

3. Protecting your customers’ data is your responsibility

You have a moral and legal responsibility to protect your customers’ data, or you can be held accountable for the damages. Your customers are willing to entrust it to you (and only you). So better be careful and don’t break that trust. To be a responsible business owner, encrypt your website with an SSL certificate. This will ensure that any details submitted to such websites are treated with the right degree of caution and remain safe from those who are trying to stick their noses where they don’t belong.

4. The reputation of your business is at stake

There’s a myriad of reasons to protect the reputation of your business, especially in the online world. Without it, you can shut your doors before you know it. Should hackers breach your system, there are additional things to worry about besides losing the data; you might very well experience a revenue drop as a result of these events. In case the company’s image takes a turn for the worst, you can always hire a PR agency to help remedy the situation, or so you may think. The reality, however, is that the costs of doing so can skyrocket beyond limits and you may not be able to afford it.

5. IoT devices are on the rise

IoT devices are rising in numbers, and the quality of our lives is significantly improving as a result. Not only that; due to their capacities, the efficiency of various kinds of business tasks is improving as well. The downside, as you might have guessed, is that these devices are easy prey for hackers if you don’t take the steps necessary to secure them. If compromised by cyber criminals, your business could be facing thousands upon thousands of dollars in damages. To make things worse, such devices aren’t exactly known to be the most secure either. So if you want to avoid becoming a victim, you should make a thorough assessment of their vulnerabilities and loopholes before connecting them to the network.