Report: Cyberattacks Cost Most Businesses Over $100,000

Despite the escalating costs of cyberattacks, only 15% of surveyed businesses are adequately prepared.

Cyberattacks are costing 71% of surveyed businesses over $100,000 a year, with 41% claiming their total damages exceed half a million dollars for the same period, claims a new report from Cisco.  

What’s more, despite the increased accessibility of security tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) and password managers, the survey also revealed that almost half of global organizations are unprepared for cyberthreats that result from hybrid work environments. 

For businesses looking to ramp up their cyber hygiene and avoid costly attacks, we break down the main findings of Cisco’s latest Cybersecurity Readiness Index, and outline some practical measures for evading risks in 2023.

Cyberattacks Are Costing 71% of Businesses over $100,000

Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index shows the true extent of online threats to businesses and the costly consequences of being unprepared.

According to the report, 71% of businesses that experienced a cyberattack within the past year claim it cost them at least $100,000, with just under half (41%) saying that the overall cost exceeded $500,000.

Unsurprisingly, cyberattacks of this scale are likely to have even more damaging consequences for smaller businesses, with previous research from Cisco finding that if a breach resulted in a loss of critical data, over half of smaller firms would be unprofitable in less than a month.

Despite Mounting Threats, Lots of Businesses Remain Unprepared

Cisco’s new cyber report also found that out of the security leaders they surveyed, four out of five (82%) expect a cyber security incident to disrupt their business within the next one to two years.

And these concerns appear to be valid. Research suggests that online attacks like data hacking, theft, or embezzlement have shot up 600% since the Covid-19 pandemic. This surge of criminal behavior is showing no signs of slowing down either, with the total cost of cybercrime predicted to hit $8 trillion globally this year, and $10.5 billion in 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

However, despite the prevalence of costly attacks, most businesses still aren’t doing enough to confront threats head-on, with Cisco’s report revealing that only 15% of surveyed businesses are adequately prepared to handle these escalating risks.

Cisco cybersecurity readiness graph

Overall cybersecurity readiness of organizations globally. Source:

Almost half of the businesses (47%) fell into the researchers ‘Formative’ category, which means they’ve taken some steps to protect themselves, but still aren’t ready to meet the challenges posed by the hybrid working world.

Results vary by country too, with Indonesian businesses showing the highest level of cybersecurity maturity (39%), and Brazil displaying the highest level of cyber diligence in the Americas, with 26% of respondents falling into the ‘Mature’ category. In contrast, only 13% of US businesses made it into the Mature readiness stage, demonstrating how much further home-grown businesses have to go compared to the international market.

How Can Businesses Evade Costly Cyber Attacks?

While the results of Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index may seem daunting, there’s no shortage of practical measures businesses can take to fortify their defenses.

According to Cisco, essential cybersecurity measures can be broken down into five major categories: protecting identity, devices, networks, application workloads, and data.

When it comes to protecting company devices, the company recommends using precautionary tools like antivirus software, host controls, and endpoint security platforms like firewalls and malware solutions, alongside training employees on how to keep devices safe.

If you’re looking to improve the security of your company’s network, we would also recommend investing in a VPN. By helping users to establish a protected network connection, they’re one of the most effective ways businesses can protect themselves against external attacks, especially if employees are working remotely.

Most VPNs on the market are super affordable too, making them an easy way for businesses to safeguard their data and employees. If you’re interested in using one for your business, see how our top picks compare in our table below:

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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