James Douglas Burbank

James D. Burbank has been in marketing for more than a decade. He has worked in traditional as well as online marketing and he has seen it all. He is also a huge Utah Jazz fan.

James Douglas Burbank has written 12 articles for SB Informer.
View all articles by James Douglas Burbank...

Why Cybersecurity is Important for B2B Reputation Management

How a B2B company's reputation can be affected by lapses in cyber-security.

James Douglas Burbank

October 26, 2016

Not rated

It is hardly a secret that reputation management is one of the most important aspects of any B2B company. When you are in the B2B arena, there are fewer tricks and shortcuts and a bad reputation can all but ruin your business.

Today, much of the B2B reputation management has gone online as B2B companies are doing their best to present themselves in a positive light online. One aspect of it that no one thinks about until it is too late is cybersecurity.

Data breaches and other situations where a company's cybersecurity is compromised can wreak havoc to anyone's reputation, while in the world of B2B this becomes even more pronounced, for a number of reasons.

Different Types of Threats

While some people still believe that most of the cyber-attacks are done for bragging rights or even for good as part of hacktivism, the reality is a much more pragmatic and depressing, really. Namely, most of the cyber-attacks aimed at businesses have one goal and one goal only – to make a profit.

Social engineering attacks are definitely the most common kind of threat in the world of business cyber-crime as they are relatively easier to do than to use brute force to gain access to a computer system of some kind. These attacks use the victims themselves as a way of entry by playing certain psychological games, playing on victim's greed, fear or curiosity. These attacks can also utilize all kinds of malware and other ways of gaining access and gathering data.

Despite great strides that have been made in education on phishing attacks, some people still fall for them. It is a game of huge numbers. Attackers send thousands upon thousands of phishing spam emails and the chances are that someone will click on them. Once they are opened, a company's system is at the mercy of the attacker.

Traditional types of malware are still a threat in the B2B cybersecurity ecosystem, although anti-malware solutions are doing their best to keep up. One particular type of malware that is seeing an increase in use is ransomware. With this type of malware, data is not stolen, but simply "hidden" from the victim who then has to pay a ransom in order to regain access to their data.

The Damage Done

There are innumerable ways in which a successful cyber-attack can cripple a B2B company.

For one, there is the case of stolen data which can is a much bigger problem for a B2B company than for a company that works solely with customers. Besides losing their own data, such a company will most likely also be giving up data on the businesses they work with. When this happens, their partners also become victims and this can easily grow into a huge problem for all parties involved.

If the company that suffers the initial breach happens to have access to their B2B partners' IT systems, this can be even more troublesome as it can result in a breach of epic levels. Of course, their partners may be protected themselves, but there is always a chance they are not.

Even if the cyberattack has not resulted in a loss of data, like in the case of ransomware, the company will suffer quite a bit of downtime. If they wish to ensure that their system is once again 100% clear, this process can last up to a few months even. All of this time, their B2B partners will be left out to dry and this will most likely cause them to lose money as well. Worst case scenario, the cyber-attack you suffered will cause other people to lose money and face, perhaps even shut down temporarily.

The Loss of Reputation

It goes without saying that all of this will result in a huge loss of reputation for the company that suffered the initial breach. They will come across as someone who is unable to take care of the most basic of cybersecurity protocols and who does not consider their security a priority.

In addition to this, since these breaches will most likely hurt their partners, those same partners will lose every will to do further business with the compromised company. Moreover, they will most likely talk to their contacts in the industry and recommend they don't do business with the compromised company either. 

Today, with news breaking at the speed of light thanks to the internet, a data breach will most likely not go unnoticed. The news of it will spread like wildfire and there is little that a company can do in such a situation. It is then time to start doing damage control and acknowledge the problem.

Closing Word

A cybersecurity breach in the B2B industry is a costly and excruciatingly damaging event. It can also lead to a huge drop in reputation and damage to the brand. It is, therefore, essential that B2B companies do everything in their power to prevent such breaches.


Add comment Add comment (Comments: 0)  



Related Resources

Other Resources