Sony were recently the victims of a cyber-attack which has directly caused massive damage to their reputation and bottom line.

On November 22nd, skulls appeared on the computer screens of Sony employees along with messages that threatened to expose company secrets that had been obtained by hackers who had gained access to sensitive data within Sony’s IT network.

Sony staff could no longer use their IT systems as a result of the attack. Employees had to work with whiteboards and pen and paper. It’s clear that this would have had a severe impact on productivity, as well as collaboration and communication – both internal and external.

How were Sony affected?

Around 100 terabytes of data was stolen from Sony’s servers, including unreleased films and scripts which were circulated online. The unsolicited release of this data alone would have resulted in huge revenue losses – potentially hundreds of millions. “Fury” – a film starring Brad Pitt – has been illegally downloaded over a million times.

As well as this, business secrets were also exposed – such as how much Sony pays the superstar actors that star in their films. It was revealed that female stars, like Jennifer Lawrence (perhaps the most marketable actress currently), received lower salaries than their male counterparts – causing Sony huge embarrassment.

The salaries of the top 17 Sony executives were also released, as well as private emails between staff. Co-Chairman Amy Pascal’s reputation was hit hardest when her leaked emails showed that she made racist comments about US President Barack Obama and referred to actress Angelina Jolie as a “talentless brat”.

On top of all of this negativity, Sony have now been sued by two former employees for failing to ensure the security of its computer network and confidential information – as the hack led to a leak of names, salaries, healthcare records and social security numbers.

If this can happen to a huge global corporation like Sony, it can happen to your business. Would you survive a major data loss or theft?

The Business Impacts of Data Loss

60% of businesses who face data loss or theft close within 6 months, and that figure goes up to 90% within 2 years. Would your business be in the 10% that survive? We don’t all have the financial power and global reach and popularity of Sony.

It is vitally important that businesses invest in proper security measures to defend their systems as well as backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to ensure that data is never lost.

Businesses that fail to invest in the latest security hardware and software are more likely to fall victim to cyber attacks and suffer from data theft or loss. Likewise, businesses that do not invest in adequate back up and disaster recovery solutions are taking a huge risk. As well as having the ability to quickly and completely restore all data in the event of a disaster, businesses should have a business continuity plan.

A business continuity plan differs from a disaster recovery plan – as a DR plan usually only refers to restoration of data. Business continuity plans clearly outline exactly what needs to be done to ensure that the business continues to run and make money during major a disaster situation. This would include details of who will carry out certain tasks – such as managing the entire process of carrying out the plan, what locations would be used as temporary business premises while the normal location is unavailable, and details of who would be able to work remotely.