Competitive advantages give a certain business an edge over rivals in the same business space and the ability to generate greater revenue for the business owner. When it comes to competitive advantages there are two main types. The two main types are: comparative advantage and differential advantage. When one talks about comparative advantage, or cost advantage, we talk of a business having the ability to produce a good or service at a lower cost than it’s competitors, which gives that business the ability to sell it’s goods or services at a lower price than it’s competitors or to generate a larger margin on sales. A differential advantage is when a business’s products or services differ from it’s competitors and are seen as better than a competitor’s products by customers.
Let’s look at differential competitive advantage when it comes to cyber-attacks and cyber-security. Cyber-security is the process of applying security measures to ensure three core goals of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. You may have heard cyber-security professionals referring to these core goals with the acronym CIA, which stands for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. For every organization, business or government agency the priority of these three goals may vary according to the entity’s reason for being formed. In the instance of government agencies like the military, confidentiality will be of highest priority when compared to integrity and availability. When it comes to small mid-sized businesses like an online business the goal of availability in most cases would be of highest priority, while for a business that relies on it’s trade secret it might be confidentiality that is of highest priority.
Is it possible in the present or future to use cyber-attacks to gain a differential competitive advantage when it comes to SMBs? I will say yes, and there is a possibility that it has already been used. We are well aware of industrial espionage carried out by nation states on important industrial sectors. I also believe in the possibility of bad business actors hiring cyber-criminals to give them a competitive advantage. Let’s take a scenario were two online businesses in the same business space are in competition and one business owner or actor decides to hire the services of cyber-criminals to launch a Denial-of Services (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack taking the competitor ‘s website offline. In this scenario the goal of availability is affected. The unavailability of the competitor’s website for online business transactions can cause several potential customers to look for alternatives, which can be advantageous for the bad business owner or actor that hired the cyber-criminals.
Most SMBs fail to recognize the dangers of operating a business in cyberspace and choose to ignore or not take cyber-security into consideration. For any SMB the non-consideration of cyber-security could put your business one cyber-attack from total failure. If cyber-security is a current or future concern for your Small or Mid-sized Business feel free to contact us as we would love to assist you in alleviating your cyber-security concern.