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Whether it’s TalkTalk’s high-profile loss of almost 157,000 customer details in late 2015 or the 4000 data breaches in just three years at UK councils, cyber attacks and data breaches are becoming increasingly prevalent. And this is a problem.

It’s a problem because the modern business world is driven by data. It’s a problem because the more data you have, the greater the risks. It’s a problem because, according to a YouGov poll, almost 80% of people are less likely to conduct business with an online organisation that has experienced a data breach.

But this is about more than reputation. It’s about very serious impacts on your profits. And these impacts could be made far greater due to the coming legislation resulting in fines of up to 4% of gross global revenue for businesses found at fault for data breaches.

Now at first glance 4% of revenue might not seem too significant, but let’s put that into perspective.

Consider Apple, in 2015 the company recorded an annual revenue of $234bn – their most successful year to date. Under the forthcoming EU legislation, this figure would have been reduced to $224.64bn, a loss of $9.36bn.

However, the true impact of this fine becomes more apparent when we consider actual profits. With Apple recording a 2015 annual profit of $53.4bn, the fine would bring that figure to $44.04bn – a 17.53% loss of profit. Can you really afford to lose that much of your profit?

Bear in mind also that the 17.53% loss of profit is buffered by Apple’s record-breaking annual numbers: the reality for those without such large quantities of annual revenue is sobering. You are not Apple. And these fines can hurt your margins. Badly.

And this is without considering the collateral damage of a tarnished reputation. In the YouGov poll, commissioned by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), 20% of respondents said they would definitely stop using a business’s services following news of a data breach.

So let’s recap: that’s potentially 4% of your revenue and 20% of your customers, gone. Is it sinking in yet?

Your business could soon sink if data protection isn’t one of your priorities.

Data protection is about more than public concern and technical compliance, it’s about protecting your business, its profits, and its ability to remain competitive in a world where businesses live and die by their data and IT systems.

So what are your options?
With research from the ICO finding that every major UK bank reported some sort of security breach in 2014, the gravitas of this problem is huge. And this means you need a plan. You need to identify your vulnerabilities and assess every system, process and facet of your organisation that could expose you to risks.

Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you, pulling together a comprehensive executive brief that provides a full overview of all the latest developments on IT security. Within the report you’ll find a breakdown on the current legislative measures that could threaten your business, the full scale of the problems facing modern businesses, how you can start to understand your specific data risks, and how to begin addressing them.

To download the executive brief, simply click HERE

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