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The hidden cost of overlooking security incidents

With all the recent media interest in online security breaches, you might think that these are virtually the only types of criminal activity most businesses are facing.

But you’d be very, very wrong.

Recent reports show crime is on an upswing in Australia. Many businesses are seeing a similar surge in burglaries, thefts, vandalism, assault, and other crimes. These crimes take a major toll on profitability and productivity.

An average IT breach can certainly be costly — research shows a single breach can cost an average of $8 million. However “physical” security breaches like theft, burglary, vandalism, and assault also come with a hefty price tag. This cost extends far beyond direct and immediate losses like property damage or losses from theft.

Security incidents and business losses

The economic impact of property crime and other “physical” security incidents can be devastating for many businesses:

  • Employee theft, shoplifting, and fraud contribute to about $2.7 billion in losses to Australian businesses, according to a report from the Global Retail Theft Monitor
  • A single vandalism incident costs businesses about $3,400 USD per year ($4,400 AU), according to statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Data from the Australian Institute of Criminology indicates the cost of business vehicle theft is nearly $300 million per year

Personal crimes like assault or rape have even larger losses. The long-term impact on a business’s reputation and revenue from these crimes can be devastating.

A single sexual assault incident can result in losses of up to $2 million, with an average of about $350,000 per incident. This is just for legal costs and damages paid. That doesn’t take into account the significant cost a business suffers to its reputation. This cost can translate directly into lost revenue. The impact is not just for a few weeks or months, but for years to come.

Costs to your reputation

Reputational costs are one of the many “hidden” costs associated with security incidents. Unlike physical damage and repairs, the costs of reputational losses can be much more difficult to measure.

For most businesses, it takes years to build up customer trust. A business can’t underestimate the value of that trust. It may take you years to rebuilding trust — sometimes you never achieve complete restoration. A “black mark” may stay with the company and the brand. This may result in lost customers and lost revenue.

Rebuilding your company’s reputation may involve hiring more staff to improve your public relations or diverting existing marketing staff from their duties. For some businesses, reputational losses can be so extreme, they can eventually lead to closure or bankruptcy.

Productivity and other “time-related” losses

Reputational damages are some of the most devastating losses associated with security incidents, but they’re not the only hidden costs.

While somewhat easier to measure through the impact on your bottom line, productivity losses can also be substantial and difficult to predict. Not only can a security incident disrupt your business, it can also affect your employees’ morale. These incidents can even make it difficult to attract top talent in the future, which means you can suffer a long-term impact to your bottom line.

Another cost that can be difficult to anticipate is an increase in your insurance premiums. Insurance is a risk-based business. And when your business experiences a crime or security incident, your insurance company will weigh that risk when determining your future premiums. In some instances, you may even find that your coverage is completely dropped. This will leave you scrambling for a new insurer.

There are the time costs associated with meeting with attorneys, public relations staff, insurance agents, and community representatives. Also, there is the time devoted to working with the media to provide information.

These time costs can be especially difficult to measure since the impact of a security incident can persist for months or years.

The solution: Be proactive

You’ve probably heard the expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to security incidents, it’s especially good advice.

Most large businesses use security monitors attached to cameras. Checking all the feeds is difficult, even with experienced staff. The good news: AI-assisted video monitoring can make the task of monitoring a lot simpler. It can analyse images in real-time. This allows it to identify unusual activity, including crimes.

These systems make it easier for businesses and their security staff to more effectively monitor activity and to respond proactively to stop incidents before they escalate.

The iCetana dynamic live-monitoring system is a leading example of AI-assisted video-monitoring technology. iCetana designed to help businesses assess and respond in real-time. This allows security teams to take action that can halt crime and prevent security issues in their earliest stages — and sometimes even before they begin.

iCetana is scalable, so can grow with you. To find out about the iCetana system and how it can help you invest in better business security while protecting your clients, your property, your reputation, and your revenue, contact iCetana today at

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