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A data breach can be defined as an unintentional or intentional release of secured information to an environment that is untrusted. As a business owner, your customers trust you with a variety of personal information, including Social Security numbers, birthdates, and contact information, and if this information gets into the wrong hands, they could become the victims of identity theft and other issues. If your business has become the victim of a security breach, you can certainly expect to experience some costs. It is important to understand how a data breach will negatively impact the morale of your employees so that you can take steps to prevent it.
How Will a Data Breach Affect Employee Morale?
The costs of a data breach in your business are quite extensive, but one of the major areas of impact will be employee morale.
A Data Breach Will Become a Major Distraction
Your employees likely have a lot of work to do in their daily activities, so having to add in additional duties associated with recovery will take away from their normal responsibilities. This can become a major distraction that is extremely time-consuming, and it may lead to an unreasonable workload. The bigger the breach is, then the greater the distraction will be for your employees, and it could potentially continue for months or years.
Employees Will Have to Deal with Upset Customers
If your customer information has been compromised in a data breach, it is no surprise that you’ll have some unhappy clients calling your business to try and get answers. In most cases, lower level employees such as customer service representatives will be in the direct line of fire, taking these calls and communicating directly with the customer. This can lead to an unpleasant work environment for your employees, and unfortunately, this poor morale is difficult to turn around. It may lead to your good employees seeking out new job opportunities elsewhere.
Lost Customers Equals Lost Sales
Customers don’t tend to be very forgiving of businesses that compromise their personal information, even if the scenario isn’t likely to do much harm. However, if you lose something extremely important like a Social Security number, you could potentially lose that customer forever. If your sales staff is paid by commission, this could severely jeopardize the financial livelihood of your employees, and it will likely send them searching for more lucrative career opportunities with other organizations.
What Other Costs Can You Expect?
While employee morale is certainly an important cost for your business, a data breach will be far-reaching and can impact your organization in a variety of ways. There are several other potential costs of a data breach that you should consider:
How Can You Manage a Data Breach to Protect Employee Morale?
In order to protect your business against the numerous costs of a business data breach, including reduced morale, it is important to plan ahead. There are a variety of questions that you should ask yourself when creating your plan for how you will handle a breach, and acting promptly can help to minimize damage to business morale:
When it comes to a data breach at your business, there is more at stake than just your reputation. A data breach will affect your employees at all levels, and if handled improperly, the situation can lead to low morale and a loss of your workforce. By better understanding these potential costs, you can take the steps needed to prevent and manage them in the future.